About This Program

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About This Program

The Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Substance Use Prevention Program, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aims to prevent overdose in the community.




Mission and History

In 2018, almost half of all overdose deaths in Harris County involved opioids, and drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Harris County - according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. A comprehensive, collaborative 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 fund or enhance prevention activities



Our Goals

The mission of the Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Substance Use Prevention Program is simple, aiming to prevent opioid overdose within our community.

The goals of the Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Substance Use Prevention Program include:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of how the opioid epidemic is impacting the community
  • Increase the volume and variety of surveillance data
  • Engage cross-sector collaborations dealing with substance use or misuse within the community, such as:
    • Utilization of the Texas Prescription Drug Program
    • Number of people linked to care - including social, clinical, and mental health services
    • Number of buprenorphine waivers administered by physicians within this community



Data Collection and Analysis

Improved data collection and analysis will enable HCPH to better identify trends in opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose, as well as 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 outpatients 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 patients 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, Harris County Public Health will support other partners linking patients to care for recovery including Houston Recovery Center and others.




Partners

Harris County Public Health is partnering numerous community stakeholders to prevent opioid overdose through direct funding and/or collaboration.