Training Public Safety to Prevent Overdose in BIPOC Communities

Individuals, communities, and health care systems across the country are struggling to cope with the ongoing overdose epidemic, which is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color. In 2020, drug overdose deaths rose 29.4%, including 69,710 deaths involving opioids.

Public safety personnel (police, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians) are often the first on the scene for overdose emergencies; however, the skills required to respond to these situations are not acquired through traditional public safety trainings. Although some public safety agencies have implemented overdose prevention programs, few take into consideration the unique needs of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, and even fewer are trained on engaging with BIPOC communities around substance use and overdose prevention.

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This work is supported by the CDC of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $300,000 with 100% funding by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.