How To Prevent Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths?
For a long time, harm reduction has been largely perceived as a reaction to the HIV epidemic among injecting drug users. But drug use can cause other harms, besides blood-borne infections, and pragmatic, humane methods exist to prevent these harms as well. One of these harms is becoming more and more alarming, especially in the US: drug overdose. There are 100 overdose deaths in the US every day, with more people dying from an overdose than in car accidents. As a harm-reduction activist put it, overdose is the new AIDS. This means that just as the HIV/AIDS epidemic catalysed public support for harm reduction in the early 90s, the growing rate of overdose deaths can play a similar role in our decade. It is not only the unprecedented high level of overdose deaths that makes the headlines, but the fact that most of these fatalities are caused by prescription opiates and not illegal drugs. Consequently, the majority of victims are not street heroin users but middle-class young people. It is unfortunate that the media values the lives of these people more, but at the same time, it helps to bring the issue of overdose prevention into the mainstream. We interviewed several harm reduction professionals in the US about drug overdose deaths, and ways to prevent them. Watch our video and learn more!