Online Program

A Local Health Department’s Efforts to Prevent Prescription Drug Overdose

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Executive Director, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Overall drug abuse mortality in Boston increased sharply throughout the early years of the last decade with the age-adjusted drug-related mortality rate increasing 125% from 13.0 per 100,000 in 2000 to 29.2 per 100,000 in 2006. Multiple efforts, towards reducing opioid overdoses, including increased availability of Narcan, were effective in achieving a 36% decrease from 29.2 in 2006 to 18.5 in 2010. However, as in other parts of the country, nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) and consequently prescription drug overdoses have become a growing concern in our communities. EMS transports for narcotic related illness increased from 1016 in 2010 to 1106 in 2011. And while limited data exist specific to prescription drug overdose, the Boston Public Health Commission's community-level work in this area leads us to believe that NMUPD accounts for a growing precentage of these overall deaths. For this reason, BPHC has identified prescription drug prevention and more targeted outreach to residents with a previous overdose as essential strategies in our plan to adddress fatal and non-fatal opioid overdose.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the factors contributing to the rise in prescription drug overdoses ; 2) describe current and on-going efforts to address prescription drug overdose in Boston; and 3) discuss opportunities for improved surveillance and data collection on NMUPD.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the executive director of Boston’s health department, I direct and coordinate the city’s efforts to address substance abuse prevention and treatment. The Commission has spearheaded efforts to address opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse through a variety of strategies including coalition building, outreach, education and training, counseling, and treatment.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.