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2024 OFR National Forum: Harm Reduction and Awareness Campaigns

Publication Date: 3/13/2024

Thought to Action: Reigniting In-person Coalition Work and Overdose Spike Alert Response in the Post-COVID-19 Emergency Era 

Forum attendees interested in gaining insight into a successful example of multiple agencies, task forces, and committees synergizing their resources around a common goal should attend this presentation. Attendees will hear a firsthand perspective from someone intimately involved in several systemic touchpoints that resulted in the implementation of a fatality review committee (FRC) recommendation. Dutchess County, New York, utilized its opioid task force, related subcommittee, and FRC to bring together agency leadership, epidemiologists, peers, providers, and law enforcement to commit resources in a thoughtful manner to provide an outreach response in the event of an overdose spike in the county. 

Tackling a Crisis Through Collaboration: Addressing the Overdose Epidemic in Cobb County, Georgia   

Cobb County, in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, has consistently experienced among the highest number of deadly overdoses in the state, most of which have involved opioids. The district attorney's office received a Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Use Program (COSSUP) grant to develop an opioid fatality review panel, which in its first meeting recommended addressing the lack of community education and awareness around the overdose epidemic. Working closely with the local public health agency and using as a model the Erie County, New York, opioid response strategy, a countywide coalition was established, ushering in a community-based collaborative effort to educate, inform, equip, and empower the community to stem the tide of deadly overdoses. Combining the efforts of public health, first response, behavioral health, law enforcement, and affiliated agencies has resulted in a truly comprehensive approach that has increased awareness and provided actionable tools and resources across the entire county. 

Keywords: Harm Reduction