Public Health Considerations for Strategies and Partnerships

Promising strategies

The following examples of evidence-based and promising strategies can help states, territories, and local communities prevent overdoses and ensure the health and wellbeing of their residents:

  • Promote and support the use of the 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain.
    • Integrate quality improvement measures into clinical practice.
    • Consider ways to increase and maximize use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), which are among the most promising state-level interventions to improve opioid prescribing, inform clinical practice, and protect patients at risk.
    • Help healthcare providers use best practices through a process called academic detailing—structured visits by trained professionals who can provide tailored training and technical assistance.
  • Improve prescribing practices to reduce patient risk for overdose and assess Medicaid, workers' compensation programs, and state-run health plans.
  • Increase access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment services, including medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).
    • Enhance services for individuals with opioid use disorder involved in the criminal justice system. Services include targeted naloxone distribution, overdose education, and medications for opioid use disorder in jails, prisons, and other correctional settings.
  • Expand access to naloxone; effective approaches include community distribution programs, co-prescription of naloxone, and equipping first responders.
  • Consider 911 Good Samaritan Laws, which refer to local or state legislation that provides people experiencing overdose or bystanders with limited immunity from drug-related criminal charges and other criminal or judicial consequences that may otherwise result from calling first responders to the scene.
  • Educate consumers about the risks of prescription opioid misuse and the importance of discussing safer and more effective pain management with healthcare providers. An example of a consumer-focused effort is CDC's Rx Awareness Campaign, which tells the stories of people whose lives were impacted by prescription opioids.
  • Save the lives of people who use drugs or are struggling with substance use disorders and highlight actions the public can take to help prevent overdose. CDC launched four education campaigns (fentanyl, naloxone, polysubstance use, and stigma) on Stop Overdose to reach young adults (ages 18-34) who use drugs.
  • Help local jurisdictions put effective practices to work in communities where substance use disorder is common.

Working together

CDC continues to build partnerships through multiple public health and public safety collaborations to strengthen and improve efforts to reduce drug overdoses. These partnerships allow for effective implementation of programs and help advance promising strategies that address the overdose epidemic. There are unique opportunities and resources for effective strategies, collaboration, and coordination that help:

  • Enhance programs and policies to support the needs of those at risk of overdose.
  • Bridge knowledge, data, and service gaps that impact the success of community-wide overdose prevention efforts.

Overdose Response Strategy

The Overdose Response Strategy (ORS) is a unique collaboration between CDC and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program designed to enhance public health and public safety partnerships. The mission of ORS is to help communities reduce fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses by connecting public health and public safety agencies, sharing information, and supporting evidence-based interventions.

With support from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and CDC, this program offers evidence-based intervention strategies that can be implemented at the local, regional, and state level. For example, CDC partners with the National Association of County and City Health Officials to fund ORS pilot projects that enhance public health and public safety collaborations at the local level.

Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program

The Bureau of Justice Assistance's Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (BJA COSSAP) supports effective state, local, and tribal responses to illicit substance use in order to reduce overdose deaths, promote public safety, and support access to treatment and recovery services in the criminal justice system.

CDC partners with BJA COSSAP on multiple demonstration projects, including rural responses to the opioid crisis, Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) expansion in states and tribes, harm reduction education and training for law enforcement, building bridges between jail and community-based treatment, and overdose fatality review (OFR) implementation.

Combatting Opioid Overdose through Community-level Intervention

CDC partners with ONDCP to provide funding for community-based projects as part of the Overdose Response Strategy's Combatting Opioid Overdose through Community-level Intervention (COOCLI). This effort supports implementation of innovative strategies within a targeted geographic area with the aim of building the evidence base for response activities that other communities can employ. Projects include

  • Efforts on post-overdose strategies to link people to care using patient navigators and recovery coaches;
  • Justice-involved populations and access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD); and
  • Buprenorphine induction in the emergency department.

These pilot projects are taking place in high-need areas, with funding provided to support personnel, services, technology, and equipment needs.