Adaptive Solutions to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Location: Jepson 122
Date: Fri, April 26
Time: 5:35 PM - 5:55 PM

Four Gonzaga seniors in the Comprehensive Leadership Program presented this case study at the International Leadership Association (ILA) Student Case Study Competition. This case study addressed the growing opioid epidemic in our nation, specifically focusing on the state of Florida. Kotter's Model of Change acts as a diagnostic tool, allowing us to gauge past and current progress. Through this framework, we are able to analyze ways adaptive leadership can improve the integrity of pharmaceutical companies and humanize communities recovering from addiction both in Florida and nationwide.


Florida and our nation as a whole are experiencing a detrimental opioid epidemic. Overdose on drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, and other powerful pain relief medications are the cause of death for nearly 115 people each day across the United States, 9 of which are residents of Florida. Despite the national acknowledgement concerning the opioid addiction, little action has been made to solve the crisis. This epidemic illuminates an opportunity for adaptive leadership solutions, aiming to improve the integrity of pharmaceutical companies and humanize communities recovering from addiction. Kotter's Model of Change acts as a diagnostic tool, allowing us to gauge past and current progress. Through this framework, we are able to analyze ways Heifetz's adaptive leadership can further shift the approach on prevention and treatment practices of those addicted to opioids in Florida, and ultimately nationwide. The efforts thus far as a nation have mostly included broad and technical solutions, skipping essential steps of Kotter's model in creating initiatives for tangible change. The solutions we propose include both short and long term responses: decriminalization of drugs offenses, reevaluation of over-prescriptions, and improvements to rehabilitation practices. Although technical solutions cannot solve the complexity of the opioid epidemic, our proposals promote engagement for future adaptive solutions.

Paper