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Overdose Awareness Week, learn more about the initiative's work to reduce overdoses

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Overdose Awareness Week

August 28–September 3, 2022

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that the number of drug overdose deaths in the United States increased 15 percent between 2020 and 2021. Every death is one too many lives lost. The NIH HEAL Initiative® is evolving to address the changing landscape and supporting research into new strategies to prevent and treat opioid addiction and overdose.

The Opioid Crisis—More Than Just Overdose Deaths

One American life is lost every 5 minutes due to overdose, and millions of Americans suffer nonfatal overdoses or have a substance use disorder. HEAL is committed to curbing overdose deaths and treating substance use disorder. Dr. Rahul Gupta, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, discusses the overdose crisis and the underlying need for substance use disorder treatment.

VIDEO: WATCH DR. RAHUL GUPTA Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

HEALing Communities Across America

The HEALing Communities Study is guided by individual communities through coalitions composed of local leaders, healthcare providers, and individuals with “lived experiences” including family members, people with opioid use disorder, and those who are in recovery.

The study’s goal is ambitious but urgently needed: to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths in participating communities in four states by 40 percent in 3 years. Read more about this study.

VIDEO: WATCH DR. BENJAMIN P. LINAS, M.D., M.P.H. Boston University School of Medicine

Saving a Life When No One Is Around

Rapid use of the rescue medication naloxone is essential—but many people overdose alone. HEAL researchers are developing an implantable device that will automatically detect an overdose and administer naloxone.


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