Building Capacity Through Community Behavioral Health Organizations to Prevent Overdose
Unprecedented rates of overdose deaths call for innovative programs that expand access to and engagement in overdose prevention and treatment services.
In March 2023, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched Building Capacity Through Community Behavioral Health Organizations. This initiative provided up to $100,000 each in grant funding to 25 community-based health organizations (CBHO) to support their overdose prevention efforts. The organizations come from all over the U.S.
The initiative goes beyond funding. The National Council is also providing the funded CBHOs training and technical assistance that will enhance and expand critical services that reduce the risk of overdose. These efforts will increase engagement in innovative, evidence-based harm reduction programs; linkage to behavioral and physical health care; and peer recovery support services nationwide.
Linkage to care, a crucial early step in successful overdose prevention and response, is a coordinated system and practice of actively connecting individuals to services to address problematic use of opioids or other drugs. The 25 CBHOs funded under this initiative focus on connecting underserved individuals to services that support them in improving their health and wellbeing.
Peer support is essential to linkage to care initiatives. Emerging evidence indicates that peer-support models can be effectively integrated into existing services, improving outcomes for program participants Peer workers — individuals with relevant living experience of drug use or lived experience of recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD) who are trained to offer support — help program participants navigate systems and provide other instrumental emotional and relational supports.
Successfully linking people who use drugs and people with SUD at risk of overdose to care plays a key role in the overdose epidemic, addressing structural inequities related to health and reducing suffering, disease and death.
25 CBHO Grantees
Capacity Building Resource Hub
The Capacity Building Resource Hub provides resources community behavioral health organizations (CBHO), harm reduction organizations and other community-based organizations can use to support overdose prevention efforts and expand critical services that reduce the risk of overdose. Resources include a collection of practice-oriented toolkits and guides, resources for organizations and staff, educational videos and advocacy-oriented documents that cover related aspects of harm reduction and overdose prevention as broadly as possible.
In the resources, you’ll find trends and developments related to emerging substances of concern, safer drug use, needs of specific groups of people who use drugs or alcohol (such as young and older drug users, women, LGBTQ+) and linking them to care, and evidence-based practices to increase the capacity of organizations to effectively serve people who use drugs.
Our objective is to support community-based organizations that provide harm reduction and overdose prevention services, especially those offering linkages to care and peer support services.
Emerging Substances of Concern
- Learn More About Fentanyl (Prevent Overdose RI)
- Fentanyl Use & OD Prevention Tips (The DOPE Project)
- What You Should Know About Xylazine – Drug Overdose (CDC Injury Center)
- Responding to Xylazine in the Drug Supply (National Harm Reduction Coalition)
- Responding to Xylazine in the Drug Supply Part II (National Harm Reduction Coalition)
- Xylazine in the Drug Supply (National Harm Reduction Coalition)
- Tranq aka Xylazine: Woundcare 101 (The Everywhere Project)
- Tranq aka Xylazine: A Field Guide for Supporting People Who Use Drugs (The Everywhere Project)
- Beyond the Alerts: Practical Guidance for Responding to Xylazine (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors [NASTAD])
- Learn About Xylazine (Prevent Overdose RI)
- Xylazine Wound Care (The Aliveness Project)
- Xylazine in Philly’s Drug Supply: Provider Update and Panel Discussion (Substance Use Response Guidance and Education [SURGE])
Harm Reduction Advanced Practice
- Fentanyl Test Strips: A Harm Reduction Strategy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC])
- Enhancing Harm Reduction Services in Health Departments: Fentanyl Test Strips and Other Drug Checking Equipment (National Council for Mental Wellbeing)
- Pregnancy and Substance Use: A Harm Reduction Toolkit (National Harm Reduction Coalition)
- Evidence-based, Whole-person Care for Pregnant People Who Have Opioid Use Disorder (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA])
- Xylazine Withdrawal Management (SURGE)
- ECHO: Harm Reduction and Mental Health (Clinical Education Initiative)
- Tranq/Xylazine Overdose Response Training (National Council for Mental Wellbeing)
- Policies and Procedures: Syringe Exchange Programs (New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute)
- Overdose Prevention in New York City: Supervised Injection as a Strategy to Reduce Opioid Overdose and Public Injection (NYC Health)
Community Engagement, Partnerships and Linkage to Care
- Improving Linkages to Comprehensive Care for People at Risk of Overdose (Maryland Department of Health and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials [ASTHO])
- Case Studies: Linkage to Care in Non-Public Safety Settings (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC])
- Outreach and Engagement of People Who Use Drugs (Maryland Harm Reduction Training Institute [MaHRTI])
- Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention: A Colorado Community Reference, Chapter 4: Engaging Affected Families and Friends (Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention)
- Language Matters (City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction [SUPHR])
- Community Engagement: An Essential Component of an Effective and Equitable Substance Use Prevention System (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA])
- Coordinating Systems of Care to Provide a Comprehensive Behavioral Health Crisis Response to Individuals Experiencing Homelessness (SAMHSA)
- Linking People with Opioid Use Disorder to Medication Treatment – Drug Overdose (CDC Injury Center)
- Evidence-based Strategies for Preventing Opioid Overdose: What’s Working in the United States, 2018 (CDC)
Peer Services and Utilizing People Who Use Drugs
- Hiring, Training, and Supporting Peer Research Associates: Operationalizing Community-based Research Principles Within Epidemiological Studies by, with and for Women Living with HIV (Harm Reduction Journal)
- Peer Support Specialist Skill Development Series (National Council for Mental Wellbeing)
- Peer Mentor Policy and Procedure Handbook (Interior Health)
- Developing Peer Engagement Best Practices for BC Health Authorities for Effective Harm Reduction (BC Centre for Disease Control and Toward the Heart)
De-escalation and Personal Safety
- Crisis De-escalation and Conflict Resolution Training (Foundation for Recovery)
- De-escalation and Conflict Management (Maryland Harm Reduction Training Institute [MaHRTI])
- Prevention and De-escalation of Intense Behavior Responses: What Adults Can Do (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction)
- CPI’s Top 10 De-escalation Tips Revisited (Crisis Prevention Institute)
- De-escalation in Health Care (The Joint Commission)
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
- A Racial Equity Framework for Assessing Health Policy (The Commonwealth Fund)
- Equality Institute Workshops, Trainings, and E-learnings (Equality Institute)
- National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center Learning Resources (National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center)
- How Structural Racism Works – Racist Policies as a Root Cause of U.S. Racial Health Inequities (The New England Journal of Medicine)
- Health Equity in the Response to Drug Overdose (National Association of County and City Health Officials [NACCHO])
Data Management and Collection
- Collecting Gender Identity Data in EHR and Addressing Quality of Care (National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center)
- Collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data (National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center)
- Data Collection Technical Assistance Resources (University of Washington Supporting Harm Reduction Programs [UW SHaRP])
- Using M&E to Better Serve Your Community: A Four-part Webinar Series for Health Departments and SSPs (National Association of County and City Health Officials [NACCHO])
- What Can Data Do for You? Understanding Grant Reporting, Data Monitoring and Program Evaluation (AIDS United)
- Evaluation Profiles – Drug Overdose (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] Injury Center)
Advocacy, Funding and Sustainability
- Advocacy Guides (Recovery Advocacy Project)
- Recovery Voices Count 2018 (Faces & Voices of Recovery)
- Grassroots Advocacy and Peer Supporters: Session 1 (National Council for Mental Wellbeing)
- Grassroots Advocacy & Peer Supporters: Session 2 (National Council for Mental Wellbeing)
- Advocacy Handbook (National Council for Mental Wellbeing)
- Low-cost Naloxone (Remedy Alliance for the People)
- Funding Opportunities (National Association of County and City Health Officials [NACCHO])
Overdose Prevention Work and Resources
Check out our overdose prevention work across our organization below. For more information contact Emma Hayes at EmmaH@thenationalcouncil.org.
- Establishing Peer Support Services for Overdose Response: Strategies from the Field
- Establishing Culturally Centered Peer Support Services
- Linkage to Care to Prevent Overdose: Strategies from the Field
- Opioid Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery in BIPOC Communities: Webinar Series
- Tranq / Xylazine Overdose Response Training
- Emerging Practices in Xylazine Wound Care
This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $3,000,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The content is that of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of, or an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.
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