Overdose Prevention Sites: A Proven, Life-Saving Tool to Combat the Overdose Crisis – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Overdose Prevention Sites: A Proven, Life-Saving Tool to Combat the Overdose Crisis

Dec 12, 2019

The overdose crisis has hit Chicago very hard, yet another example of health inequity in our city. We hosted a free, educational event focused on overdose prevention sites (OPS), and a broader harm reduction approach for improving and protecting people’s health. Overdose prevention sites are a well-established intervention that have existed for decades, with at least 100 sites in about a dozen countries, but do not yet exist legally in the United States–although they have been proposed or are being pursued in several parts of the country, including Philadelphia.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, in 2017, Chicago had almost 800 people die from an opioid-related overdose. That year, 7,500 people received emergency medical services services for opioid overdoses. We need public policy and practical interventions that save lives. Overdose prevention sites are sanctioned places where people who use drugs can go to use their pre-obtained substances under trained supervision.

This event provided relevant background on Chicago’s overdose crisis as well as described how these programs could save the lives of Chicagoans at risk of overdose. There were opportunities to learn new information, ask questions, and discuss both challenges and possibilities related to pursuing overdose prevention sites.

Here are the slides from the event’s presentations:

Event Co-hosts (List is in formation):

  • Health and Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
  • Drug User Health Collective of Chicago (DUHHC)
  • Transforming Re-entry Services (TRS) formerly known as Men & Women in Prison Ministries
  • West Side Heroin / Opioid Task Force
  • Representative La Shawn K. Ford
  • Representative Kelly Cassidy
  • Chicago Urban League
  • Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center
  • Westside Community Triage and Wellness Center
  • Brandon Johnson, Cook County Board Commissioner, 1st District
  • Alma Anaya, Cook County Board Commissioner, 7th District