The Issue

Drug overdose deaths in the United States are at epidemic levels.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose was responsible for over 38,000 deaths in 2010 and was the leading cause of injury-related death.  A multi-pronged, coordinated, sustained response must be waged to prevent drug overdose deaths.

Current Initiatives

Federal
National
  • Advocating to prevent drug overdose.
  • Working to ensure that the opportunities presented by the Affordable Care Act to improve access to care can be realized by justice-involved individuals.
  • Co-chairing and coordinating the Coalition for Whole Health to ensure the Affordable Care Act is well implemented for people with mental health and substance use disorder service needs.

Legal Action Center’s Policy Recommendations

  • Public education: Federal and state governments should support and fund public education on overdose prevention, recognition, and response, and tools that are effective in preventing overdose death should be widely available.
  • Comprehensive overdose prevention strategy: Congress and the administration must support:
    • An increased federal investment for mandated education of prescribers on evidence-based practices for the use of prescription opiates to manage pain and specific steps to prevent, identify and manage opioid overdose;
    • Improved education about where to obtain SUD treatment and recovery support;
    • Increased federal investment in public education and awareness on identifying the symptoms of overdose and steps to take if someone may be experiencing an overdose; and
    • Increased funding for SAMHSA and other HHS agencies to help States, counties and localities purchase naloxone and to support other tools effective in preventing opiate overdose deaths.

Learn More

To learn more about this issue, visit our Substance Use Resources.

To learn more about LAC’s impact, see our Accomplishments.

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