With support from the Division of Overdose Prevention (DOP) and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NACCHO began investigating the literature available on Health Equity in Drug Overdose Response. This included tools and resources that could provide guidance for health departments on addressing drug overdose through the use of a social determinants of health or health equity lens.
NACCHO seeks to improve the health of communities by strengthening and advocating for local health departments (LHDs). As fatal drug overdoses have continued to increase annually, many demographic factors are being researched in silos without consideration for intersectional impacts of drug overdoses. Thus, in addition to improved access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and services, more increased attention should be placed on upstream factors of drug overdose that result in health inequities as this would likely have a positive effect on downstream factors.
The findings from our literature review identified both root causes of overdose inequities and gaps in drug overdose health equity research and practice. Among social inequities, most sources focused on inequities across race/ethnicity. As such, gaps remain in assessing health inequities relating to LGBTQ+, adolescent, gender-based, and immigrant populations impacted by or at risk for drug overdose.
The newly launched Health Equity in the Response to Drug Overdose Webpage has been curated to highlight resources and tools designed to help health departments consider root causes across populations and interconnected upstream factors when addressing drug overdoses in their jurisdictions. The Actionable Resources features reports, frameworks, guidance and resource repositories from local, state and national entities that have been organized into three core areas based on proposed action. These are: Programs, Practices and Interventions; Planning and Implementation; and Outreach and Awareness.
The application of a health equity and social determinants of health lens in drug overdose response and prevention efforts is expected to improve related outcomes. Through the Health Equity in the Response to Drug Overdose Webpage, NACCHO furthers it’s mission to support officials within county and city health departments in addressing the health needs of their jurisdiction equitably.
For any questions or requests to submit materials that support health equity in the response to drug overdose at the local level, please contact us at IVP@naccho.org.