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CAI Explores Potential Solutions to the Nation's Opioid Drug Epidemic

9/21/2017  -  Falls Church, VA

Community associations could play role in alleviating the crisis, according to new article published by CAI

As the nation's opioid epidemic surges, some experts say that community associations could be in a unique position to do something about the crisis, according to a new article published by Community Associations Institute (CAI), the leading international authority in community association education, governance, and management. The article, titled "House of Pain," is featured in the September/October issue of CAI's award-winning, flagship publication, Common Ground™ magazine.

Dr. Howard K. Koh, a professor at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shares, "The days of saying, 'It will never happen here' are long gone." The "House of Pain" article details how the opioid crisis is happening everywhere. No region, race, or economic level is immune. Even the most prosperous communities are not immune.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 100 people die from opioid overdoses per day in the U.S. That's more than 30,000 people a year. The number of fatalities from opioids, such as prescription painkillers oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and illegal drugs such as heroin has quadrupled since 1999. The epidemic could take as many as half a million lives in the next decade.

Some experts say that community associations are in a unique position to do something about the opioid crisis because they act as surrogate local governments or supplement the functions of municipalities. Associations' very nature—neighbors governing neighbors—also gives them a certain advantage.

But what is an association's role in this crisis? And even if its leaders and residents want to get involved, what can they do? Association experts interviewed for the article point out that the mission of an association focuses on maintaining property values. But associations often go beyond the basics of ensuring architectural harmony and collecting assessments. They help raise money for charity; they provide amenities that promote health or fun; they celebrate cultural diversity. "Associations can serve as a force for good. They can be catalysts for their community," says Koh. "They have potential power in numbers, and they can leverage that power and serve as means for change."

According to the article, community associations can start doing their part by assessing the scope of the drug-related problems they face. That can lead to common-sense actions. For example:

  • Associations can schedule "Take Back Days," which are events sanctioned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that provide safe disposal of opioid prescriptions;
  • Association leaders can educate their residents about the scope of the opioid problem and where they can get resources, or invite local experts to conduct seminars;
  • And they can advocate at the local, state, and federal levels for more drug treatment facilities and better insurance coverage for treatment.

"During a natural disaster or crisis, it's human nature for people to band together," says Thomas M. Skiba, CAE, CAI's chief executive officer. "For more than 40 years, community associations have been instrumental for uniting people from all walks of life for a common cause. That cooperation and solidarity is visible today with passionate and responsive community association homeowners around the world."

For more than 30 years, CAI's Common Ground magazine has been reporting on industry news and topics to educate the nearly 35,000 CAI members. In the past, the magazine has covered the legalization of marijuana, guns in community associations, hurricanes, wildfires, and many other current events that impact the lives of those living in today's community associations, condominiums, and cooperatives.


About Community Associations Institute
Since 1973, Community Associations Institute (CAI) has been the leading provider of resources and information for homeowners, volunteer board leaders, professional managers, and business professionals in nearly 350,000 community associations, condominiums, and co-ops in the United States and millions of communities worldwide. With nearly 35,000 members, CAI works in partnership with 63 affiliated chapters within the U.S, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and South Africa, as well as with housing leaders in several other countries including Australia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.  

A global nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization, CAI is the foremost authority in community association management, governance, education, and advocacy. Our mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership, and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in community associations that are preferred places to call home. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @CAISocial.


Phone: 703-970-9235