Post opioid-overdose interventions emerge in US

Opioid-related deaths continue to take the lives of thousands in the U.S. each year, with non-fatal opioid overdoses as a significant risk factor for a subsequent fatal overdose. Post-overdose interventions are emerging in affected communities, using what support systems are available to assist in the program design.

Survivors often do not seek treatment or overdose risk reduction services immediately after an overdose for many reasons, including shame and stigma, and lack of referrals to substance use treatment.

In a scoping review article published in Preventative Medicine, Sarah M. Bagley, MD, MSc, medical director of the CATALYST (Center for Addiction Treatment for Adolescents/Young adults who use Substances) Clinic and addiction specialist at Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction, provides an overview about the emerging prevalence of post-overdose intervention programs in the U.S. and the variety of methods that communities and states are using based on availability of resources and support.

For the review, researchers examined articles published between 1999 and January 2019 that specifically described a specific post-overdose program. A total of 27 unique programs were identified for qualitative synthesis, which were organized into five categories based on timing, setting, and collaborations—emergency department-based, emergency department and home-based, home and/or overdose venue-based, mobile/not site-specific outreach, and diversion programs.Some of the key takeaways from the review are: