Opioid Epidemic

The United States is currently experiencing an opioid epidemic, as drug overdose deaths have become a leading cause of injury and death, with recent estimates reporting that 115 Americans die each day from drug overdose.

Opioid By The Numbers 2

Of the 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, opioids were responsible for 42,000 of these deaths, which can involve both prescription and illicit opioids. The opioid epidemic has also contributed to increased rates of non-fatal opioid overdoses, an increase in emergency department visits attributed to drug misuse, widespread outbreaks of infectious diseases linked to intravenous drug use, and heavy economic costs from death, lost productivity, and healthcare spending.

NACCHO recognizes prescription and illicit opioid misuse as a significant public health threat and national emergency, as well as the critical role that local health departments play in responding to the nation’s opioid epidemic. NACCHO supports local health departments in their efforts to respond to the opioid epidemic through the implementation of evidence-based policies and programs for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder and its related health consequences. Local strategies encompass improvements in surveillance and monitoring, increases in prevention and education, promotion of appropriate opioid prescribing practices, and improvement and expansion of treatment and recovery services for opioid misuse and opioid use disorder.

As the opioid epidemic progresses, NACCHO will be continually updating this webpage with new resources and tools, including an upcoming toolkit and primer to support local health departments as they build a response within their own communities. If you have a resource you'd like to share, questions to ask, or you'd like to learn more and be part of the conversation around local responses to the opioid epidemic, please complete this form.

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Facing Addiction in America

The Office of the Surgeon General released a spotlight on opioids.

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Facing Addiction in America

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Opioid Crisis by the Numbers: A Case for Prevention

Fact sheet with basic facts about the cost and consequences of opioids, and the power of prevention.

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Opioid Crisis by the Numbers: A Case for Prevention

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Evidence-Based Strategies for Preventing Opioid Overdose

Learn what's working in the United States.

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Evidence-Based Strategies for Preventing Opioid Overdose

The following resources have been developed by NACCHO and its many partners to assist local health departments as they develop a local response to the opioid epidemic in their communities.

The following resources provide information on opioid overdose prevention and treatment for opioid use disorders. For examples of local health department responses, visit the Big Cities Health Coalition page on Opioids Misuse and Abuse.

For building a response in a rural area, visit NACCHO's Rural Health Section webpage for more resources and information.

Please find our resources on prescription opioid misuse below.

In March 2016, CDC released the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to provide recommendations to improve the way that opioids are prescribed. In September 2018, CDC then released a Quality Improvement and Care Coordination resource to help healthcare systems implement and integrate the Guideline into their clinical practice.

NACCHO has several policy statements related to the Opioid Epidemic and its infectious disease consequences.

NACCHO also provides letters to Congress and the administration to influence policy in order to best support local health departments' response to the opioid epidemic.

Legislative Actions

In March 2018, Michael E. Kilkenny, MD, MS Physician Director, Cabell-Huntington (WV) Health Department testified before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee in a hearing "Combating the Opioid Crisis: Prevention and Public Health Solutions." Watch the full video to see Dr. Kilkenny describe how his health department has successfully led community efforts to combat the dual epidemics of opioid misuse and infectious diseases associated with opioid addiction, or read NACCHO's recap of the hearing on Twitter.

On November 13, 2017, NACCHO hosted a Congressional briefing "Tackling the Opioid Epidemic and its Hidden Casualties: Local Health Departments on the Frontlines" with cosponsors National Association of Counties and U.S. Conference of Mayors, with panelists that represented a range of local stakeholders in the fight against opioid use and abuse.

As the opioid epidemic progresses, NACCHO will be continually updating this webpage with new resources and tools, including an upcoming toolkit and primer to support local health departments as they build a response within their own communities. If you have a resource you’d like to share, questions to ask, or you’d like to learn more and be part of the conversation around local response to the opioid epidemic, please complete the following form.

For further questions about the local response to the opioid epidemic, please contact us at opioidepidemic@naccho.org

Use this space to ask questions or make suggestions to the NACCHO team.
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