Opioids Misuse and Abuse

Deaths from opioid overdose now outnumber fatal car accidents, contributing to the first sustained drop in life expectancy in the U.S. in decades. Public health officials in the Big Cities Health Coalition are on the front lines of this epidemic, implementing solutions to combat and prevent addiction, misuse and abuse. They work each day to create programs that prevent and address addiction, fight drug abuse, connect those in need to treatment, and share education with patients, health care providers and the community.

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Advocacy & Policy

The Big Cities Health Coailtion requested that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review a rule that puts an arbitrary cap on the number of patients medical providers are allowed to treat  with an opioid addiction treatment called buprenorphine.

BCHC wrote a letter to U.S. Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, requesting their support for the passage of S.524, the “Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act" (CARA). Members also requested that legislators go a step further by also supporting "The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT) Act,” (S.1455).

The Coalition wrote a letter to comment on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

City Data

Click below to explore data on opioid misuse and abuse.

See the opioid addiction policies and practices being implemented by some of our member cities.

Blog posts

The 90 Days of the White House Opioid State of Emergency are up, and communities have little to show for it

For more blog posts, check out our Front Lines Blog


Download “On the Frontlines: Local Public Health versus America’s Opioid Epidemic,” from NACCHO Exchange to explore the nation’s opioid crisis from a multidimensional local public health perspective, focusing on topics ranging from community-based partnerships and surveillance to harm reduction and overdose prevention. Some of the articles in this issue include:

  • State of the Opioid Epidemic: Local Public Health as the First Line of Defense
  • A Federal Perspective on the Opioid Epidemic: An Interview with Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, Surgeon General of the United States
  • Establishing Community-Based Partnerships to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
  • Promoting Overdose Prevention through Policy, Education, and Outreach
  • Comprehensive Approaches to Preventing Opioid Misuse
  • Vulnerability to HIV and Hepatitis B and C Virus among Persons Who Inject Drugs: Learning from the 2015 HIV Outbreak in Scott County, Indiana

Case Study

Blanket Prescription: How Every Citizen in Baltimore Can Now Save a Life from Opioid Overdose

Addiction does not discriminate and Baltimore officials believe that all citizens should have the capacity to save a life. The program is built on the belief that naloxone should be part of everyone's medicine cabinet and everyone's first aid kit.