A Public Health Approach to Reducing Opioid Overdose

Every day in the United States, over 100 people die of a drug overdose. In the past decade, the most important part of this sad story has been the vast expansion in availability and use of opioids (e.g., oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl). Although a “downstream” intervention will never fundamentally solve the problem, it can at least reduce the death toll. That is the role of expanding access to the anti-overdose drug naloxone (aka Narcan) and creating Good Samaritan provisions for overdose emergencies.

The White House Office of Drug Control Policy, which strongly supports these reforms (Yes, elections really matter) has assembled the following data on the state of play around the country. Clearly, much has been accomplished and much more remains to be done. I dig into these details more in my latest piece at Washington Post Wonkblog.

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[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. He served as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009 to 2010.