Heroin & Other Illicit Drugs
As rates of drug overdose increased in the United States over the past decade, investments were made in public health approaches to reduce overdose and problem substance use. A new mantra took hold: “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem.” This shift occurred in the context of an epidemic rooted in prescription medication that disproportionately impacted White Americans and signaled a markedly different approach to drugs from the law enforcement response to the heroin and crack epidemics of the 1970s and 1980s.
However, overdose demographics and drug types are changing. In 2017, for the first time in 11 years, Black individuals experienced the highest overdose fatality rate in New York City (NYC). In the same year, fentanyl became the most common substance involved in NYC overdose deaths. As the burden of overdose shifts back from White communities to communities of color and as fentanyl overtakes other substances, government actors must renew our commitment to public health approaches and resist returning to strategies that rely primarily on law enforcement approaches.
In light of this data, presenters will describe four innovative public health strategies to respond to rising overdose and fentanyl: a rapid assessment and response field services team to deliver prevention resources and education to populations and communities at high risk; a cocaine-specific campaign targeting bar patrons to raise awareness of fentanyl in the cocaine supply; fentanyl test strips as a harm reduction engagement tool; and Relay, a peer-based 24/7 emergency department-based nonfatal overdose response program.
This session is accredited for the following accreditation types: CME, CNE, CPE, APA, AAFP, AAHCPAD*, NAADAC*, ASWB*
*State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit.