SAMHSA News Winter 2014, Volume 22, Number 1
Opioid deaths have nearly doubled between 2001 and 2010,(1) largely because the number of people using, misusing, and abusing illicit and prescription opioids has been on the rise. Health care providers have increasingly been prescribing opioids for the treatment of pain at an alarming rate – fourfold since 2001(2). With that comes an increased risk of overdose and accidental death – and a significant public health problem that SAMHSA recognizes.
Last fall SAMHSA released the Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit to address overdose by educating and engaging key audiences. Within 36 hours of the toolkit’s release, it became the second most downloaded resource on the SAMHSA website – a testament to both need and usefulness. A comprehensive resource, the toolkit targets specific constituents and professionals as important points of intervention to prevent overdose, recognize the symptoms of overdose, and respond if opioid overdose has taken place.