Harm Reduction Coalition Applauds Release of SAMHSA Overdose Prevention Toolkit
Toolkit Lunch Marks International Overdose Awareness Day
In preparations to mark International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have released a new Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit. The toolkit aims to reduce the number of fatal opioid overdoses by providing education for clinicians, patients, communities, first responders, overdose survivors and family members.
The overdose prevention toolkit highlights the importance of access to naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of overdose from opioids (heroin or prescription painkillers). "This toolkit marks growing federal support and leadership for expanding use and availability of naloxone as a central component of a comprehensive overdose prevention strategy," noted Daniel Raymond, Harm Reduction Coalition's Policy Director. "We're seeing a tremendous groundswell of support across the country for addressing overdose through overdose education and naloxone distribution programs, from parents groups and community coalitions, medical societies, substance abuse treatment and recovery groups, and state legislatures."
"Naloxone is safe, cheap and effective, and overdose prevention programs which provide naloxone – whether through health departments, first responders, harm reduction organizations, or drug treatment facilities -- are saving lives," said Dr. Sharon Stancliff, Medical Director of the Harm Reduction Coalition. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist with no potential for extra-medical use and is the gold standard medication for counteracting and reversing the effects of opioid overdose. The Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) has been in the forefront of this push for naloxone, through advocating and providing technical assistance for overdose prevention for nearly a decade. As part of this on going work, HRC trains people who use opioids, along with their peers, allies, friends and family members on overdose prevention, recognition and response, as well as on how to use naloxone to reverse opioid overdose. As support for naloxone grows so has the evidence base. A 2012 report authored by Harm Reduction Coalition's DOPE Project Manager and colleagues published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that in a single year, 10,171 overdoses had been reversed by using naloxone—or around 20% of people (53,032) trained and provided with naloxone by community-based organizations.
Overdose claimed the lives of 38,329 people the US in 2010, over 100 persons every day, exceeding the number of lives lost in road and traffic accidents or gun violence. According to the CDC, opioid analgesics (painkillers) alone, have claimed the lives of 125,000 people in the last decade. Currently, the overdose epidemic currently shows no little sign of abating and is best characterized by a steady upward trend, with a roughly five-fold increase in fatal overdoses since 1990.
On the eve of International Overdose Awareness Day the Harm Reduction Coalition welcomes the release of the toolkit and congratulates both ONDCP and SAMHSA for a coordinated, evidence-based response to overdose prevention and for endorsing a harm reduction intervention that can save lives. Harm Reduction Coalition urges policy makers and communities to integrate broader access to naloxone into their overdose prevention strategies. In the words of ONDCP Deputy Director Michael Botticelli, "We must do more…. We have lost too many loved ones to overdose, and the deadly disease of addiction has remained for too long in the shadows. It is time to speak out."
Harm Reduction Coalition
22 W. 27th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 213-6376 x29
Fax: (212) 213-6582
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
5510 Nathan Shock Drive
Baltimore, MD 21224
BPRU Phone: (410) 550-2254
Fax: (410) 550-0030
WARNING: E-mail sent over the Internet is not secure. Information sent by e-mail may not remain confidential.
DISCLAIMER: This e-mail is intended only for the individual to whom it is addressed. It may be used only in accordance with applicable laws. If you received this e-mail by mistake, notify the sender and destroy the e-mail