Background: Nationally, overdose fatalities have reached epidemic proportions. Ohio has one of the highest overdose death rates in the country, as well as high rates of prescription opioid trafficking.
Methods: A cross-sectional self-report survey of opioid overdose prevention programs (OOPPs) in Ohio was conducted between August and October 2014 to characterize programs and ascertain barriers to successful implementation. A 91% response rate was achieved with 18 programs participating in the study.
Results: The first Ohio OOPP opened in August 2012, a second program opened in 2013, and the remaining programs began in 2014. All of the programs distribute nasal naloxone and provide overdose prevention education, and 89% (n = 16) provide overdose kits for free. Six OOPPs are funded by the Ohio Department of Health, 3 programs are funded by a local health foundation, and several other public and private funding sources were reported. The OOPPs have funding to distribute a combined total of 8,670 overdose kits and had distributed 1998 kits by October 2014. The OOPPs reported 149 overdose reversals. Fifteen programs (83%) reported implementation barriers that were categorized as stigma-, cost-, staffing-, legal, regulatory, and client-related problems. Legislative changes aimed at removing some of the obstacles to distribution and lay administration of naloxone have recently been enacted in Ohio.
Conclusions: OOPPs have rapidly expanded in Ohio during the past 3 years. Although recent legislative changes have addressed some of the reported implementation barriers, stigma and the cost of naloxone remain significant problems.
Keywords: Naloxone; opioid overdose; prevention.