Taking Action to Address Substance Use in Communities (TASC)

Last updated: February 28, 2024

Taking Action to Address Substance Use in Communities: A Protocol for Communities has been developed by a team of health professionals and Extension professionals from Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and The Ohio State University to provide a theoretical framework for Extension professionals as they work with communities to create a collaborative approach to addressing substance use disorder. The waning and irregular access to treatment providers in rural areas, combined with a need to increase efforts to help individuals with SUD enter recovery, call for community-based approaches which increase collaboration among community organizations and individuals involved with substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support.

This extension program is recommended for communities which may not be using all their resources, have a shortage of treatment providers, experience significant barriers to recovery, or who wish to take a more proactive stance on substance use and develop an effective community-based intervention to augment and collaborate with existing recovery resources. This program will provide the necessary tools for an Extension Educator to serve a community – as a non-stakeholder facilitator – to create a Recovery Oriented System of Care.

2024 TASC Train-the-Trainer Workshops

Three opportunities – Cincinnati, OH (April 15-16); Minneapolis, MN (May 16-17); and Madison, WI (August 7-8)! Seating is limited. The workshop is free. Lodging and most meals are covered for participants meeting the service area criteria. Registration is now open!
Workshop Information & Registration Links

TASC Resources

Taking Action to Address Substance Use in Communities (TASC) includes information, tools, and strategies for addressing the impacts of substance use on people and communities. The toolkit includes a handbook, a facilitation guide, and curricular materials (PowerPoint slides and handouts).

TASC Handbook – The Handbook presents concepts and information about substance use disorder and recovery and guides the reader through the process of developing a Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC) to build stronger networks and systems to connect community resources with community members. The objective is to provide the reader with knowledge they may not have so that they can confidently facilitate community action and systems change. Download TASC Handbook

TASC Facilitation Guide – The 170-page Facilitation Guide details how to conduct the program within a community and includes two parts.

  1. A structured process for developing and introducing coalition members to one another, the organizational framework of the ROSC, the development of their community’s map and environment, and the basics of project planning and management based on their map; and
  2. A menu of presentations and workshops that includes a process agenda, objectives, background, and handouts for each meeting of the coalition.

Extension Professionals interested in using the Facilitation Guide (plus supporting PowerPoint slides and handouts) in order to conduct the TASC program in their community, please email Michael Wilcox (wilcox16@purdue.edu).



Taking Action to Address Substance Use in Communities (TASC) is a process that:

Gathers information
TASC starts by gathering information about the community! Defining the scope of existing coalitions, as well as assessing the local recovery ecosystem. TASC collects qualitative and quantitative information to describe community conditions, trends, and resources; and list organizations involved in recovery support.

Gathers stakeholders
TASC brings together stakeholders who are invested in addressing substance use in the community, or willing to become involved. There are many ways to reach out to community members, including hosting or attending town hall meetings, holding community conversations, or contacting agencies, such as the local health department, who are actively addressing substance use.

Identifies a core group
Oftentimes, there will be a group(s) in the community addressing substance use disorder (SUD) and recovery. Members are a great source for the TASC core group. The TASC core group must include members who have a wide range of beliefs, experiences, and perspectives to ensure that the group is inclusive and respectful of differences in race, gender, age, income, and other characteristics.

Defines and clarifies stakeholder expectations
TASC helps to build the framework around which the coalition will form: a recovery-oriented system of care organized via a complex adaptive system. Stakeholders will discuss the assets they can invest in creating the coalition, and relationships among organizations will be created, strengthened, or formalized.

Builds capacity
With clear stakeholder expectations, TASC core group members begin to identify gaps in coverage and strengthening relationships. For many stakeholders, this marks the point at which long-held attitudes and behaviors must change, such as how competing agencies interact with one another. The TASC facilitator works to build processes for interaction and decision-making that will enable the group to work together. Cooperation builds capacity!

Develops action steps
The initial push requires considerable attention from the entire TASC team. The first TASC projects should be quick wins: projects that show results in 60 to 90 days, which instill confidence, build momentum and improve relations among coalition members by encouraging collaboration.

Maintains momentum
With TASC working to address gaps in services, TASC team might serve as a sounding board for community interaction, helping members share information, engage all segments of the community, make decisions from an objective perspective, recognize contributions, celebrate success, and engage members with differing perspectives.

Sustains the coalition
TASC works intentionally to help TASC core group members assume more responsibility for facilitation, leadership, and management of the network, eventually leading to the handing off leadership and facilitation to the TASC core group. In some situations, this transition in responsibility has taken a year to complete.

Program goal
TASC is an interdisciplinary program developed for Extension Educators to lead coalitions through the process of fostering robust community-based recovery-oriented systems of care.

Target audience
TASC is created for Extension Professional who are working with communities that want to create effective and sustainable recovery-oriented systems of care.

Additional Information





  • Nicole Adams, Ph.D., Purdue University
  • Michael Wilcox, Ph.D., Purdue University
  • Elisa Worland, LSW, Purdue University
  • Carl Erich, Salvation Army
  • Alicia Espinosa, Cummins Behavioral Health Services
  • Anne H. Silvis, University of Illinois
  • Aidan Berg, University of Illinois
  • Courtney Cuthbertson, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Ken Martin, Ph.D., The Ohio State University