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Opioid Awareness Campaign and Education

Opioid Awareness Campaign and Education

In 2020, there were 411 overdose deaths that involved the use of opioids in the District. DC Health in conjunction with Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) Prescription Drug Overdose - Data Driven Prevention Initiative launched an opioid awareness and education campaign. The purpose is to bring attention to the dangers and risks of opioid misuse and abuse. Together, we can help protect the lives of Washingtonians and decrease the use of prescription drugs and opioids across the city.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. 


Man holding prescription bottle

Los opioides recetados pueden ser peligrosos y adictivos

Preventing Opioid Risks

There are many simple steps you can take to protect yourself from the risk of prescription drug addiction and overdose. Here are some steps you can follow to prevent an addiction:
• Ask your doctor about the pros and cons of taking a prescription opioid during your visit.
• Ask your doctor for alternative non-prescription opioid options.
• If you are prescribed and are taking a prescription opioid, please take the dosage as written on the label. 
• If living with chronic pain, talk to your doctor about safer pain management options.
• Try non-opioid methods to relieve pain, such as exercise.
• Talk to your doctor if you are not taking your prescription according to the instructions or are experiencing unusual side effects.
• Avoid taking opioid medication with other drugs and/or alcohol.

Protecting Others

• Do not share your medication with others. Do not sell your medication.
• Locations in the District of Columbia for Opioid Treatment and Needle Exchange. Select here.
• Keep your medication in a safe place. 
• Discard expired or unused medication by taking it to a safe disposal location in the District. Select here
• Find the next Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National “Prescription Drug Take Back Day”. Select here.

Virtual NARCAN Training

CLICK HERE to register for a DC Health sponsored web-course regarding Narcan use and administration.

Email Questions to DC Health-certified trainer.

Opioid-Related Programs

Buprenorphine Drug Assistance Plan (BUP-DAP)
The Buprenorphine Assistance (BUP-DAP) was designed to increase access to the drugs used primarily in medication-assisted substance misuse treatment (Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, Suboxone, and Naloxone).

Department of Behavioral Health Community-based Service Providers  
For more information on prevention and treatment, Select here.

Department of Behavioral Health Access HelpLine  
The Access HelpLine at 1(888)7WE-HELP or 1-888-793-4357 is the easiest way to get connected to services provided by the Department of Behavioral Health and its certified behavioral health care providers. This 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone line is staffed by behavioral health professionals who can refer a caller to immediate help or ongoing care. Select here.  

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Opioid-related Fatal Overdoses  
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) investigated a total of 773 deaths due to the use of opioids from January 1, 2014, through April 30, 2018. This report examines the presence of opioids in deaths observed at the OCME. Select here.

Needle Exchange – NEX 
The District of Columbia Department of Health, HAHSTA supports comprehensive harm reduction programs in order to will keep our communities safe by stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and connecting people to the health services they need. Select here.  

Safe Disposal Program  
If there are unused portions of medication, it must be disposed of properly to avoid harm to people, pets, and the environment. Select here.  

LIVE LONG DC Website  
View Washington, DC’s Strategic Plan to reduce opioid use, misuse and related deaths. Select here.  

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program  
The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) aims to improve the District’s ability to identify and reduce diversion of prescription drugs in an efficient and cost effective manner that will not impede the appropriate medical utilization of controlled substances; and to enhance patient care by providing prescription monitoring information that will assure legitimate use of controlled substances in health care, including palliative care, research and other medical and pharmacological uses. Select here.


Assessing Benefits and Harms of Opioid Therapy
CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioid for Chronic Pain: Improving Practice through Recommendations
CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain [Webpage]
CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain [PowerPoint]
Guidelines Patient Poster: Manage Your Pain, Minimize Your Risk
Non Opioid Treatments for Chronic Pain
Patient Factsheet: Promoting Safer and More Effective Pain Management
Clinical Pocket Guide: Tapering Opioids for Chronic Pain
Prescription Opioids: What You Need To Know
Pregnancy and Opioid Pain Medications
Preventing an Opioid Overdose
Podcast: Poison!
Poster: Reduce Overdose. Prescribe Responsibly
Poster: Safer, More Effective Pain Management