Increasing fatal and non-fatal overdoses, particularly those related to opioids, dominated headlines related to public health as drug-induced fatalities have totaled over 932,000 since 1999.
Public focus on this tragedy has understandably lessened somewhat during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but deaths from the overdose epidemic have accelerated in the intervening two years.
In November 2021, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that, over the 12-month period ending in April, over 100,000 people died after overdosing–an almost 30% increase over the previous year.
This grim milestone underscores the urgency with which we must act– not least by better supporting those providing overdose prevention and response (OPR) services on the ground. Often, much of this day-to-day work is accomplished by local health departments (LHDs) that play an integral role in planning, coordinating, and implementing services in response to the epidemic.
New Resource: Overdose Spike Response Framework Communities and Local Health Departments
NACCHO announces a new tool titled OVERDOSE SPIKE RESPONSE FRAMEWORK FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS. This resource will help local health departments (LHDs) plan for, respond to, and evaluate public health responses to overdose spikes. LHDs play a leading role in detecting spikes and responding to them; but they are not alone. Much of their role requires coordination with other response partners in the planning, execution, and evaluation of an overdose spike response. This unique role of convening multi-sector partners is even more critical when co-occurring crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or other natural disasters, limit organizations’ capacity to prepare for and respond to an overdose spike event. Find more information in the Framework here: “OVERDOSE SPIKE RESPONSE FRAMEWORK FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS"
NACCHO's Local Opioid Prevention and Response: A Primer for Local Health Departments serves to inform local health departments about the domestic opioid epidemic and share success stories from LHDs currently engaged in opioid-related efforts, as well as resources and informative sidebars. To download a copy from NACCHO’s bookstore, go to https://eweb.naccho.org/prd/?NA826PDF, and sign in to your free myNACCHO account.
Please visit our toolkit for additional resources to assist local health departments build their own local and community-focused prevention and response efforts.
Have more questions, or know of a resource that could help other local health departments? Email us [email protected]!
Overdose Response Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption to the normal operating procedures of local health departments (LHDs) and their partners. Understandably, staff capacity has been shifted as local public health staff work to arrest the spread of the virus and keep a worried public up to date as they are confronted with confusing mix of official announcements, news reports, and misinformation.
Unfortunately, the necessity for overdose prevention and response has not abated during the pandemic. Indeed, the substance use community faces increased risk as support services shutter or slow down operations, hospitals face severely increased caseloads, and people who use drugs are asked to socially distance from their support or safety groups.
Many LHDs have reached out to NACCHO for resources related to the pandemic and guidance about how to ensure their overdose response work can continue safely. Below is a curated list of resources for LHDs, the public, clinicians, harm reduction workers, and people who use drugs.
Please refer additional resource requests to [email protected] and we will attempt to assist you as soon as possible.
NACCHO's Opioid Epidemic Toolkit contains a multitude of resources, organized by topic and level, to support LHDs in their overdose prevention..
NACCHO is engaged in opioid prevention and response efforts in many counties and cities.
CDC Funding Opportunity Now Open: Comprehensive Community Approaches Preventing Substance Misuse (CCAPS)
With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NACCHO is pleased to announce a funding opportunity to support the implementation of evidence-based approaches to prevent overdose, substance use disorders (SUD), adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and other potentially traumatic events in the homes and families of those most at risk of overdose. Through this funding opportunity, NACCHO and CDC will award up to seven applicants to implement or expand programs that prevent SUD or overdose and that also have the potential to simultaneously prevent ACEs within the selected communities and populations of focus. Applicants may request up to $450,000.
Applications are due by 5:00pm ET on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
Informational Webinar Recording
The recording from the 2021 CCAPS RFA Informational Webinar on September 15 may be found here: https://bit.ly/3nZiYJK
The Q&A from the webinar may be found here.
Check out our recent blog posts related to the opioids epidemic in Stories from the Field.
Use the resources below to learn more about MRC projects that address the opioid epidemic and find other resources about local responses.
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, and advocates for sufficient funding to combat the opioid epidemic.
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.
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.