In 2016, more than 42,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. A host of complex social, structural and drug-related factors have contributed to the overdose epidemic, but one of the primary factors in recent years is the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Officials are focused on a variety of efforts to address the opioid epidemic and overdose crisis, including finding solutions to help prevent new addictions, increasing access to treatment, trying to halt the supply of illicit substances. But to a far lesser extent, they include harm reduction – or strategies aimed at protecting the health and saving the lives of those people who are actively using drugs. In this episode, we talk about harm reduction, and we take a look at a recent study that has the potential to inform an innovative public health approach to the overdose epidemic.
The American Health Podcast is created by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, a project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.