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Public Health Crisis
According to the April 2008 Massachusetts Death Report, opioid overdose deaths continue to rise. The report documented the following increases in Massachusetts:
In 2006, 637 people died in Massachusetts from opioid poisoning, up from 544 in 2005.
What We're Doing About It
Like HIV, Hepatitis, and harm reduction, overdose prevention challenges our assumptions about what drug and alcohol treatment should or should not include. In all these situations, we emphasize the importance of approaching treatment, including the discussion of consequences of use, in ways that include clients and support clients’ decisions to abstain and pursue recovery, risk reduction and support.
Many unintentional opioid overdoses occur after a period of abstinence from drug use – whether a person was in drug treatment, the hospital, a detox program, or jail. This period of abstinence can result in a decreased tolerance which, in turn, can create an overdose risk factor, if use resumes. Because we know that relapse is a part of the recovery process, education during drug and alcohol treatment is an important prevention strategy and one that can be very effective.
To focus our efforts on capacity building programming and training around opioid overdose prevention, Health Imperatives’ SPHERE program launched The Overdose Prevention Training Initiative in winter 2007.
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Click here for SPHERE Program Director Mindy Domb's letter to Counselor: The Magazine for Addiction Professionals on SPHERE's Top 10 Tips for Developing and Delivering Effective Overdose Prevention Training in Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs!
|For more information about Health Imperatives and other services provided by the agency, please visit Prevention & Community Services. For more information on The Statewide Homeless/HIV Integration Project (SH/HIP), click here.|