The Division of Substance Abuse Prevention and Control’s (SAPC) Harm Reduction Unit is focused on expanding access to harm reduction and overdose prevention services provided by Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health’s contracted Engagement and Overdose Prevention (EOP) Hubs,
also known as syringe service providers, to reduce the number of deaths related to opioid overdoses in LA County.
Harm reduction is an evidence-based public health approach that aims to reduce the negative consequences associated with substance use.
Harm reduction focuses on “meeting people where they are” and recognizes that many people aren’t willing or able to stop using substances and focuses on decreasing the negative consequences associated with drug use by equipping individuals with the knowledge and resources they need to protect themselves.
Harm reduction adopts a variety of safer use strategies including syringe service programs, providing medications for addiction treatment (MAT), peer programs, safe consumption sites and more.
History of Overdose Epidemic
The overdose epidemic has resulted from many causes leading to a staggering increase in opioid-related deaths.
Explore the following sources in understanding the history of the use of opioid and other drugs and the causes of the present-day epidemic.
Naloxone is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medication that reverses an opioid overdose.
It acts as an opioid receptor antagonist – meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids.
In the event of an opioid overdose, naloxone can quickly restore breathing to an individual whose breathing has slowed or stopped.
Access Naloxone from a Pharmacy
Naloxone is available to people with Medi-Cal and Medicare with a prescription from their doctor or can be supplied by participating pharmacies without a prescription.
Additionally, many private insurances also cover the cost of naloxone, for more information call your insurance provider.
The Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) program is a program of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) which
aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths in LA County by teaching people at risk of an overdose, and those close to them, how to prevent, recognize and respond to overdose using naloxone.
OEND includes a list of existing community naloxone access points prioritizing naloxone for individuals at highest risk for overdose.
Accessing Fentanyl Test Strips (FTS)
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.
Since 2013, there has been a sharp, nationwide increase in overdose deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl which has contaminated heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy and other recreational drugs.
Fentanyl test strips (FTS) are a form of inexpensive drug testing technology that was originally used for urinalysis, however, has been shown to be effective at detecting the presence of fentanyl and other fentanyl-analogs in a drug sample prior to use.
Engagement and Overdose Prevention (EOP) Hubs
The Engagement and Overdose Prevention (EOP) Hubs are LA County contracted syringe service providers who provide harm reduction services, peer-led education, and peer-led support services.
Harm reduction services include conducting syringe exchanges, providing safer use supplies including safer smoking equipment, distributing naloxone overdose reversal kits, and connecting participants to other important services and programs such as:
Education about overdose prevention and harm reduction practices.
Naloxone distribution and education.
Screening, care, treatment for viral hepatitis and HIV.
Referrals to medications for addiction treatment, and other medical, mental health, and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services.
Community-based organizations and individuals may utilize the following resources and information designed by SAPCs Harm Reduction Unit to support efforts to expand access to harm reduction and overdose prevention services.
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and
is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition
of the website, which is the official version.