TSRG Annual Letter 2021

Welcome 2021!   As I reflect on 2020, a time of COVID, uncertainty, and great achievement, I am humbled by what the new year may bring.  Each year, I write my achievements from the prior year and my aspirations for the next.  This year, I contemplate what it means to continue working towards finding solutions to the opioid crisis now that TSRG is securing funding and experiencing a growth phase.  One of our goals in 2020 was to have more engagement with people on the ground.  Historically, our projects looked at an academic, 30-thousand-foot of the crisis. In 2020, we made a deliberate pivot to test our assumptions and findings by pursuing work that enabled us to work alongside practitioners who are involved in community-based (local) activity.  Today, we are deep in the middle of both approaches and face the challenge of building relationships and collaboratives via Zoom rather than face-to-face.  Despite the limitations of this medium, we are undeterred given the needs that persist and the support of our community partners.  Thank you, Pueblo!

While living with a global pandemic’s impact on daily life, I am struck by an idea I have heard that all public policy issues will invariably make it to your doorstep.  While COVID has not yet arrived at mine, the opioid crisis landed on my doorstep years ago and has shaped my purpose ever since.  It is my sincere hope that in the months and years ahead, we will find a way to end the trajectory of greed, neglect, injustice, and stigma that have brought this country to an unsustainable level of suffering due to the overprescription of medications and a culture that commonly teaches us to look outside oneself for solutions.

Despite the challenges we face, I sit in gratitude for all TSRG accomplished in 2020.  Our success would not be possible without the support of friends, family, community partners, the Microsoft Alumni Network, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the University of Colorado, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, the Colorado Rural Health Center, the Colorado Attorney General’s Director of Opioid Response, Delta Awesome, On the Bit Strategy, the Steadman Group, and the entire TSRG team and Board of Directors. Thank you all!

I wish you good health and strength as we face what awaits for the coming year.

My best,



  • Swann, W. L., Schreiber, T. L., Wright, S. L., Davis, M. W., Kim, S., Kim, S. Y., & Lamiotte, M. (2020). Local Policy and Programmatic Activity to Address the US Opioid Crisis: A Cross-Sectional Survey of County Governments. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: JPHMP.
  • Swann, W. L., Kim, S., Kim, S. Y., & Schreiber, T. L. (2020). Urban‐Rural Disparities in Opioid Use Disorder Prevention and Response Activities: A Cross‐Sectional Analysis. The Journal of Rural Health.
  • Wright SL. Limited utility for benzodiazepines in chronic pain management: a narrative review. Adv Ther. 2020;372604-2619. DOI: 10.1007/s12325-020-01354-6
  • John F. Peppin, Joseph V. Pergolizzi (Jr.), Robert B. Raffa, Steven L. Wright. The Benzodiazepines Crisis: An Overview of the Down-side of an Overused Drug Class (Oxford University Press, 2020).
  • Presented virtual posters at four conferences:
    • Rx and Heroin Summit (April)
    • NACCHO – National Association for City and County Health Officials (July)
    • Pain Week (September)
    • Colorado Consortium from Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Annual Symposium (November)


  • 100% participation from Board of Directors
  • Participated in Giving Tuesday
    • Received amplification from Microsoft’s Alumni Network
    • Given the opportunity to use the Microsoft Alumni Network’s new giving platform
  • Participated in a Facebook birthday fundraiser
  • Raised funds to pay for honoraria for Benzodiazepine Work Group members with lived experience when they give presentations
  • Received donations from 30 individual donors
  • Secured two government grants:
    • University of Colorado, Office of Research Services (ORS)
    • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in partnership with the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Selected as one of the 2020 AlumniHEROes and received an award for unrestricted funds and raised additional funds that were amplified

New Projects

  • Local government survey work Phase 2
    • National study of county, regional, and district public health responses to the opioid crisis
  • HRSA Planning Grant with Conejos, Crowley, and Otero counties
    • Community Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis

Community Outreach/Training

  • Accelerating Social Transformation (AST) participant, University of Washington
  • Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership participant
  • Participated in creating a Benzodiazepine Work Group through the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
    • Participated in the Peer Support Sub-Committee activities to develop a mission, vision, and handout materials as we prepare to secure funding for a pilot location
  • Created vignettes on opioid tapering with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Provider Education Workgroup
    • Interviewed by Dr. Josh Blum
    • Available in 2021
  • Tri-County Overdose Prevention Partnership participant