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Follow the Data Podcast: Advancing Public Health Strategies to Reduce Overdose Deaths

The overdose crisis is affecting US communities everywhere. A new survey by the Pew Research Center found nearly one in two people in the U.S. knows someone with a substance use disorder.

In 2018, the Bloomberg Overdose Prevention Initiative began its work supporting Michigan and Pennsylvania in using a data-driven approach to confront the overdose crisis, resulting in both states seeing lower increases in overdose deaths than the national average despite the setbacks brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the Initiative began working in five other hard-hit states: Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Alongside partners, the Initiative draws upon learnings from the initial two states to implement new programs, and to advocate for federal policies to expand treatment access and harm reduction with a goal of accelerating progress in reducing overdose deaths.

On this episode, Katherine Oliver sits down with two of Bloomberg’s critical partners in this effort – Kat Humphries, a Program Manager for the Overdose Prevention Program at Vital Strategies, and Tahira Malik, the founder of Samad’s House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – to discuss the common misconceptions people have about substance use disorder, harm reduction as an effective strategy for preventing overdose deaths, and policies that could implemented to support recovery in communities across the country.

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