Overdose Response Strategy
Monthly News and Updates
August 2021
Today is International Overdose Awareness Day.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends, remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury due to a drug overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.
Request for Applications for the Overdose Response Strategy Pilot Projects is now live.
Date of release: August 23, 2021
Applications due by 11:59 pm E.T. on Monday, September 27, 2021
With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is pleased to announce a funding opportunity to build the evidence base for promising and best practices in overdose prevention at the intersection of public health and public safety in Overdose Response Strategy (ORS) states. Through this funding opportunity, NACCHO and CDC will award up to eight applicants in different stages of their response to the overdose epidemic in one of the following categories:

Categories of work:
  • Planning Awards will be awarded up to $50,000 each. 
  • Implementation Awards will be awarded up to $120,000 each. 
  • Expansion Awards will be awarded up to $120,000 each. Eligibility is restricted to recipients that received the ORS Pilot Project, Implementation or Continuation Award, in 2020-2021

For full details about the funding opportunity, please review the Request for Applications. Questions about the RFA and application process can be directed to Kabaye Diriba, Lead Analyst at NACCHO (kdiriba@naccho.org).
September 9th, 10:00am EST
An informational webinar about the funding opportunity will be held to answer questions from prospective applicants.
September 16th, 10:00am EST
CDC and NACCHO will host a supplemental webinar to provide perspectives and lessons learned from previously awarded PHAs.
Click Here to read more about previously awarded pilot projects
Including the newly released 2020 Pilot Project summary of project achievements.
Missouri Drug Overdose Trust & Safety (DOTS) Program and the Safety and Health Integration in the Enforcement of Laws on Drugs (SHIELD)
September 10TH, 1:00PM - 2:30PM EST
Please join us for a presentation on Missouri's Drug Overdose Trust & Safety (DOTS) Program and the Safety and Health Integration in the Enforcement of Laws on Drugs (SHIELD) program, led by Claire A. Wood, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, University of Missouri – St. Louis, Missouri Institute of Mental Health and Jeremiah Goulka with the SHIELD Program.
Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) in Jails - Insights from Health Care Service Professionals
September 23rd, 2:00PM - 3:15PM EST
During this 75-minute webinar, we will hear from two health care service professionals who have led efforts at their facilities to implement OEND programs, alongside programs that provide medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), and innovated systems for financing and disseminating naloxone.

This webinar will:
  • Describe barriers to OEND program implementation and creative solutions for disseminating and financing naloxone. 
  • Describe how OEND programs complement and support MOUD programs.
  • Describe strategies for providing MOUD in correctional settings.
September All-State Team Call
September 24th, 1:00PM - 2:30PM EST
The ORS hosts Monthly All-State Team Calls. Each month, a subset of ORS states will present on major projects and state priorities to their colleagues across country. Presentations typically include current work and partners, successes and challenges, lessons learned, and discussion.

State Teams Presenting this Month
  • Mississippi - Stacy Miller, Drug Intelligence Officer
  • Oklahoma - Mike Hoskins, Drug Intelligence Officer
  • Iowa - Kevin Winkler, Drug Intelligence Officer
Mapping of ORS Activities to the National Drug Policy Priorities
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the White House’s drug policy priorities for year one in April 2021. The priorities provide guideposts to ensure that the federal government promotes evidence-based public health and public safety interventions.

The priorities are:
  1. Expanding access to evidence-based treatment;
  2. Advancing racial equity issues in our approach to drug policy;
  3. Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts;
  4. Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use;
  5. Reducing the supply of illicit substances;
  6. Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and
  7. Expanding access to recovery support services

To better understand how ORS activities align with the Administrations' priorities, the ORS State Teams mapped their work to the seven priorities.
OFR/PHAST Video - 360° Overdose Data to Action
Learn how and why a comprehensive (360 degree) approach to overdose prevention incorporates both the Public Health and Safety Team (PHAST) framework and overdose fatality reviews (OFR).
MMWR: Trends in Nonfatal and Fatal Overdoses Involving Benzodiazepines - 38 States and the District of Columbia, 2019-2020
"From 2019 to 2020, benzodiazepine overdose visits per 100,000 emergency department visits increased (23.7%), both with (34.4%) and without (21.0%) opioid co-involvement. From April–June 2019 to April–June 2020, prescription and illicit benzodiazepine-involved overdose deaths increased 21.8% and 519.6%, respectively. During January–June 2020, 92.7% of benzodiazepine-involved deaths also involved opioids, and 66.7% involved illicitly manufactured fentanyls."
Opioid Affected Youth Initiative Website Launches
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) recently launched the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative (OAYI) website. OAYI helps nationwide project sites to develop data-driven and coordinated responses to opioid misuse and other substance use disorders affecting youth, families, and communities.
National Overdose Prevention Network Health Equity Tool
A community response to reducing overdoses must address inequities. Use this tool to organize your coalition or group’s big picture thinking around health equity.
DEA Toxicology Testing Program Quarter 2 Report
In response to the ongoing novel synthetic drug abuse epidemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has initiated a contract with the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) whereby biological samples generated from drug overdose victims can be further analyzed for identification of these synthetic drugs. Quarterly reports show locations and substances identified.
BJA Webinar: Crisis Response for Rural Communities - Using Technology and Peer Support to Meet People in Crisis, Where They Are
September 16th, 12:30-2:00PM EST
Presented by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance's Academic Training to Inform Police Responses Initiative, this webinar will feature two programs that have adapted crisis response for use in rural communities. Panelists will present the innovative approaches in crisis response implemented by their programs and discuss the challenges of ensuring the needs of individuals in crisis who live in rural communities are met. Additionally, the Academic Training project team will highlight key resources to support rural communities developing and implementing crisis response in their jurisdiction.
COSSAP Webinar: State Efforts to Address Substance Use Disorder Treatment Needs for Individuals on Community Supervision
September 9th, 2:00-3:00PM EST
This webinar will highlight the common challenges and opportunities for governors and state officials to inform state and local policy development and improve outcomes for individuals with SUD who are under community supervision.
President Biden Issues Proclamation for Overdose Awareness Week
President Biden issued the first ever Presidential Proclamation recognizing August 29, 2021 - September 4, 2021 as Overdose Awareness Week.

“The overdose epidemic has taken a toll on far too many Americans and their loved ones. Addiction is a disease that touches families in every community, including my own. The epidemic is national, but the impact is personal. It is personal to the millions who confront substance use disorder every day, and to the families who have lost loved ones to an overdose.”
As Opioid Epidemic Rages, an Overdose Antidote is in short supply
Manufacturing issues led to problems producing injectable Narcan.
The Impact of the Opioid Crisis on U.S. State Prison Systems
"Using the framework of the criminal justice OUD service cascade, this study interviewed representatives of prison systems in states most heavily impacted by opioid overdose regarding the provision of medications for OUD (MOUD)."
A Process Evaluation of San Francisco's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program
This study descripts the SF Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program development, operations, adaptations, and challenges relying on policy documents, interviews, and focus groups.
Augmenting Substance Use Treatment in the Drug Court: A Pilot Randomized Trial of Peer Recovery Support
The study authors implemented a pilot experiment in the Philadelphia Treatment Court, randomizing 76 drug court
participants to be linked to a Peer Recovery Specialist or to services as usual, and analyzed client outcomes over a nine-month follow-up period.
Bridging Institutional Logics: Implementing Naloxone Distribution for People Exiting Jail in Three California Counties
Study authors found that interorganizational bridges between harm reduction, medical, and penal organizations facilitated mutual understanding and ongoing collaboration among administrators and frontline workers in different agencies, and respected and influential champions put jail-based naloxone distribution on the local agenda and cultivated support among key officials.
Changes in Health Services Use After Receipt of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in a Statewide Correctional System
"In this article the authors analyze changes in post-release health care use after the implementation of a statewide medications for OUD program in the unified jail and prison system of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections."
Drug Induced Homicide Laws May Worsen Opioid Related Harms: An Example from Rural North Carolina
This study examines the public health implications of increasingly common drug-induced homicide laws in Haywood County, NC.
Impact of a Community-Policing Initiative Promoting Substance Use Disorder Treatment Over Criminal Charges on Arrest Recidivism
Study authors examine if a diversion program in Madison, WI reduces the risk of recidivism in the 6-month period following the index crime.
Post-Incarceration Outcomes for Individuals who Continued Methadone Treatment while in Connecticut Jails, 2014-2018
"Improvements in post-release outcomes of non-fatal overdose and treatment reengagement emphasize the benefits of continuing medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder within the criminal justice system for those receiving it prior to being incarcerated."
ORS Coordinators
Nava Bastola - Program Coordinator
Nava has a MPH in Health Education and Behavioral Health Sciences from Rutgers University School of Public Health, New Jersey. Prior to her current role, since 2017, Nava has worked with the NY/NJ HIDTA program as New Jersey’s Public Health Analyst under the Overdose Response Strategy enhancing public health-public safety collaboration and strengthening and improving efforts to reduce drug overdose deaths. She has also served as a Subject Matter Expert and represented overdose fatality reviews (OFRs) across the Nation, sharing best practices and providing technical assistance to NJ and National partners. Professionally, she has also worked at the Institutional Review Board of Rutgers University dedicating her work in protection of human subjects engaged in research. Alongside her job, she devoted her time at various maternal and child health agencies, locally and globally in reducing health disparities. Originally Nava is from Nepal, South Asia and grew up in South Jersey. In her spare time Nava loves to go for bike riding and Zumba, because she loves dancing.
Tiana Conner - Communications Coordinator
Tiana Conner joined the Overdose Response Strategy (ORS) team as the ORS Communications Coordinator in early August, bringing a background in internal communications, branding and graphic design. As the ORS Communications Coordinator, she will be responsible for overseeing the department’s communications strategy as the ORS expands. Tiana grew up in Burlington, New Jersey and earned a BA in English from Montclair State University and a Master of Communications and Information Studies degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She completed a fellowship with Rutgers and Johnson and Johnson (J&J) several years ago. During her fellowship, she lived in Brussels, Belgium and provided communications support to J&J’s corporate social responsibility team in Zaventem, a Belgian municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant. Tiana enjoys embracing her creative side, creating publications, collaborating with others and taking on complex projects. Prior to joining the ORS, Tiana served as the Assistant Director of Publications for Emory University School of Medicine’s Ophthalmology department. She also has worked with Special Olympics and Booz Allen Hamilton. Tiana lives in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys spending time with her family, watching college football (Roll Tide!), traveling, roller skating and shopping. She’s excited to bring her expertise to the role and help advance the mission of the ORS.
Beth Suraphel - Program Assistant
Beth Suraphel is a new member of the ORS team serving as a program assistant. She is a public health advocate with a passion for improving health outcomes for all and a strong background in public health knowledge, communications, and program management. In 2020, Beth graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Management from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a minor in Information Systems (Go Tar Heels!). During her academic career, Beth served as a student assistant program coordinator at the UNC School of Medicine. Within this role, she acquired skills in conducting research, development, and implementation of organizational strategies, as well as program management designed for resident recruitment and engagement through social media tools. Within the communications field, Beth has also served as a social media coordinator summer intern for an Emory initiative. Most recently, Beth was able to work as an account coordinator with the digital health team at a public relations firm, where she gained insight into working within the intersection of health and communications. Beth is very excited to be joining the CDC Foundation ORS Team and look forward to taking part in the great work done by the team.
Irene Walker - Program Coordinator
Irene Walker worked for the Georgia Department of Public Health for over 6 years as an epidemiologist in varying chronic disease topics. From January 2017 to August 2020, she worked as a drug surveillance epidemiologist, where she analyzed and developed reports on overdose and other drug-related data, collaborated with the former Georgia ORS State Team and the Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA, and supported Georgia’s opioid strategic planning efforts. She has 9 years of experience in public health research, epidemiological analysis, and evidence-based prevention. Irene received her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minor in Chemistry from Georgia State University. Irene has joined the ORS team as an ORS Program Coordinator and works remotely from Georgia.
PHAs and DIOs
Miranda Lopez - New Mexico PHA
Miranda, a Hispanic from Española, New Mexico completed her bachelor’s degree in Neuropsychology from the University of New Mexico. She has experience working in behavioral therapy, case management, law enforcement, and public health. Miranda is engaged to a US Service Member and loves to be with her family in the outdoors. “I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the combat against drugs and substances that are killing our communities. Since I was younger, I have always wanted to one day save a life, and being the New Mexico Public Health Analyst, that’s my number one goal.”