image description

Harm Reduction Coalition

In the fall of 2011, the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) contracted with the District Policy Group to seek assistance in elevating the issue of opioid overdose fatality prevention to the national agenda. HRC had serious concerns about opioid-related overdose deaths reaching epidemic levels and felt that while numerous efforts were being undertaken to curb opioid use, misuse, and abuse, more needed to be done to prevent and reduce overdose deaths. Specifically, HRC sought to bring to the national policy agenda the issue of preventing opioid overdose deaths through the expanded use of the opioid overdose rescue medication naloxone. Using a strategy designed by the District Policy Group, HRC educated and recruited dozens of national medical, public health, and public interest organizations and stakeholders for this effort and, in leveraging this coalition, increased awareness of the issue among policymakers within Congress and the executive branch. The District Policy Group assisted HRC in developing messages and materials, conducting outreach and coalition building, and drafting and securing appropriations report language furthering its public policy goals. In a two year period, access to naloxone and overdose fatality prevention went from a local community grassroots issue to having a prominent place on the federal public health agenda.