International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day

On August 31, International Overdose Awareness Day reminds us of the many lives lost to overdose in our community and beyond and emphasizes the importance of continued efforts by the medical community to increase access to treatment for substance use disorder.  

The ACCMA and East Bay Safe Prescribing Coalition remain committed to reducing overdose rates by supporting legislation that increases access to care and providing our members with valuable resources: 

Today, we present a podcast featuring Christine Soran, MD, Medical Director of The OBIC – the oldest buprenorphine clinic in the country. In under one hour, you can learn about getting started with medication-assisted treatment, the pharmacology of buprenorphine, requirements to prescribe, dose adjustments, and stopping buprenorphine treatment. This podcast has CME available and counts toward the 8-hour training required by the DEA for prescribing controlled substances. 

Access the podcast here 

Harm Reduction in Action 

Harm reduction, as a philosophy, emphasizes the complex reality of drug use and aims to propel people who use drugs (PWUDs) toward recovery and well-being, without exclusion or judgment. As a practice, harm reduction endeavors to furnish people who use drugs (PWUDs) with resources, non-judgmental treatment, and guidance that will, above all, prevent loss of life in PWUDs and their communities. 

One non-profit organization, Punks with Lunch, began by providing lunches to the unhoused community of West Oakland. Today, Punks with Lunch puts harm reduction into practice by engaging in street outreach services to those experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder. As a Safe Syringe Program, they provide safe use kits, basic hygiene essentials, and a welcoming atmosphere. 

The initiative began eight years ago, when Alejandra del Pinal started making sandwiches in her kitchen after work. Since then, Punks with Lunch has grown to supply Naloxone training, syringe exchange, and hygiene supplies to the homeless population.  

“Punks with Lunch was a savior the first time they showed up, really, because we were dying around here,” said one community member to Buzzfeed News. 

Grant funding in 2020 grew the team to include two full-time staff members and office space. With expanded capacity, Punks with Lunch have launched needle clean-ups, and a mobile outreach center. 

To learn more about the effectiveness of harm reduction in recovery: