Community

No Quick Fixes

Carolina researchers are working to reduce nationwide opioid overdose.

Carolina researchers are working to reduce nationwide opioid overdose.

As the United States opioid crisis intensifies, a doctoral student from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has evaluated the statewide rollout of “Project LazarusOpens in new window,” an opioid overdose intervention program in North Carolina. Communities that have used Project Lazarus strategies have seen a modest decrease in opioid-related deaths.

“The Project Lazarus intervention model comprises seven supply, demand and harm reduction strategies,” Apostolos Alexandridis explained. “Our study model aimed to determine which of the seven strategies most effectively reduced opioid overdose.”

It is part of a nationwide response, co-led by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to the fact that opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. increased 200 percent between 2000 and 2014. In North Carolina, it is now the leading cause of injury death.

“This study is especially important because it helps empower community coalitions to fight the opioid problem,” Stephen Marshall (Ph.D.) professor of epidemiology at UNC Gillings and director of the Injury Prevention Research Center said. “There are no quick fixes here. What this study shows is that well-supported community coalitions are integral to helping Americans heal this terrible wound.”

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