Mission and History
In 2018, almost of all overdose deaths in Harris County involved opioids, and drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental deaths in Harris County, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. A comprehensive, collaborate prevention initiative is critical to prevent opioid overdoses in Harris County.
With opioid overdose reaching a state of public health emergency nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has funded select public health departments to prevent opioid overdose, through its Overdose Data to Action cooperative agreement, including Harris County Public Health (HCPH).
The Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, funded by the CDC, aims to prevent opioid overdose through three key strategies:
- Improving data collection and analysis around opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose.
- Increasing linkage to treatment for persons living with opioid addiction.
- Partnering with agencies and key stakeholders to fun or enhance prevention activities.
Data Collection and Analysis
Improved data collection and analysis will enable HCPH to better justify trends in opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose, and communities with a lack of treatment providers. HCPH will develop a comprehensive data collection through robust data sharing with multiple agencies. This information will be used to guide prevention and treatment initiatives.
HCPH will work closely with the Harris County Institute of Forensics Sciences to gather more timely and comprehensive data on fatal opioid overdoses. HCPH will gather data on non-fatal overdoses from inpatient and outpatient data sources. In addition, the Harris County Sheriff's Office will share opioid misuse and abuse data with HCPH.
Linking Patients to Treatment
Opioid misuse or abuse can often lead to incarceration. Through its own departmental funds, HCPH will be providing the Harris County Sheriff’s Office jails with additional treatment medication for patient inmates with opioid addiction, and an additional licensed chemical dependency counselor. The additional support will serve to help inmates recover, and not relapse or overdose after leaving the jail system.
In addition, HCPH will support other partners linking patients to care for recovery including Houston Recovery Center and others.
Harris County Public Health is partnering with numerous community stakeholders to prevent opioid overdose through direct funding and/or collaboration.
- Houston Health Department
- Harris County Sheriff's Office
- Doctors for Change
- Patient Care Intervention Center
- Houston HIDTA
- University of Texas at Austin Center for Health Communication
- University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Harris Department of Education
- Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences
- Harris County Medical Society
- Houston Recovery Center
- Institute of Spirituality and Health
- HOPE Clinic