Drug overdose is increasingly getting the attention it deserves. People who use drugs and others working in harm reduction have long known that overdose is a major health concern and have been on the vanguard of taking positive steps to deal with it. As support has grown over the past two decades for action on drug user health and human rights, medicine, public health, and government policies are finally starting to catch up with an urgent problem that kills or injures thousands in our communities.
There’s been great progress already. Overdose prevention programs have now offered training and naloxone to tens of thousands of people and sharply reduced overdose mortality in a number of cities. Safe injection facilities in several countries have been proven to reduce overdose deaths. And innovative work to stop overdose is being done by harm reduction groups in dozens of countries, from the USA to Russia, China to Germany, Great Britain, Ukraine, Vietnam, Tajikistan and many others.
Amid this progress, we see a need for a central source of information and discussion on all aspects of drug overdose, which is what we hope, over time, the Overdose Prevention Alliance (OPA) becomes. Our goals are to collect and document major issues in overdose worldwide, to encourage overdose prevention initiatives, and to promote good practice from a harm reduction perspective, disseminate new research findings, and correct misinformation. In order to tackle all this, we’ll have several recurring series of articles:
· Project Reports that offer good ideas, experience, and evaluation from existing overdose programs
· Policy and legal analysis that keeps track of what governments and international organizations are doing and where the money’s going
· Opinion pieces exploring major issues in the field and personal experience that cuts to the heart of why we do this work
· Research Briefs that present findings from public health and other research in terms that will be useful for everyone working on the issue
· Toolkit posts that will direct readers toward the best practical tools for starting, managing, and evaluating overdose programs
· and News on all the latest developments related to overdose prevention.
To kick things off, we have an article on overdose prevention projects in China, an analysis of recent CDC and media hype about use of mephedrone and MDPV marketed as “bath salts,” a reminder of why rescue breathing training is crucial for overdose response, reviews of recent research, and some fresh news from Wales. There’s much more to come, so for now please have a look, let us know what you think, and spread the word about the site.
Most importantly, we ask you to help shape OPA into something that will help all of us who work on the issue to better understand overdose and to take steps to save lives. We’ve assembled a team of editors to guide the site and make sure that the content is consistent, and we strongly encourage you to submit original writing, news, or anything else you feel is important. Please contact us at ODPreventionAlliance@gmail.com to talk about contributing.
With thanks, the OPA editing team,
Dan Bigg, Phillip Coffin, Luciano Colonna, Matt Curtis, Nabarun Dasgupta, Dasha Ocheret, and Roxanne Saucier