Held on August 31st every year, International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event to raise awareness of overdose and lower stigma around drug-related deaths. Events and activities around the world stimulate conversations about prevention and policy and remind participants that overdose death is preventable.
The domestic opioid epidemic continues to expand, with national provisional drug counts showing that drug overdose deaths in 2017 (currently estimated at 72,000) greatly outpaced the previous year. Opioid misuse is a significant public health threat, contributing to increases in healthcare costs, workforce shortages, and infectious disease transmission.
NACCHO recognizes the vital role of local health departments (LHDs) in developing a localized response to opioid overdose within communities. In recent years, NACCHO has recognized LHDs’ innovative opioid overdose responses with Model Practices awards. For example, Tri-County Health Department (CO) won an award for their comprehensive opioid epidemic resource webpage, and DuPage County Health Department (IL) won for their Narcan Program to save lives from overdose by making naloxone available to law enforcement through multi-sectoral partnerships and expanded trainings.
To support LHDs in prevention of and response to opioid overdoses, NACCHO created an Opioid Epidemic webpage, which hosts a variety of information and resources. NACCHO will also soon release an LHD-specific opioid primer and a comprehensive LHD-focused resource toolkit.
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