As overdose deaths continue to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation Opioid Response Network announced that the organization had distributed more than 155,000 doses of naloxone for free to organizations working with those with substance use disorder.
In partnership with Direct Relief, the Voices Project, and the National Alliance for Recovery Residences, the Foundation has provided the opioid overdose reversal drug to recover residences, community organizations, and local health departments in Arkansas, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Local partners in each state managed the distribution to individual facilities in each state. The partnership also provided training for health professionals on how to use the naloxone they received.
“Preventing overdose deaths is the first step in fighting the opioid epidemic, and naloxone is our best weapon. There is only one qualification for someone to go into recovery from substance misuse – they need to be alive,” Clinton said. “The ongoing pandemic has brought more pain for those struggling with substance use disorder – jeopardizing access to health care professionals, support groups, and family and friends. At a time when overdose deaths are spiking, this program is putting lifesaving tools into the hands of health care professionals who need it.”
According to the American Medical Association, more than 40 states have reported increased opioid-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic.
“I have personally grieved the deaths of more than two dozen friends to preventable overdoses over the last few years with many of those friends dying in sober living homes, places which should have adequate protection and prevention measures in place,” said Ryan Hampton, founder of the Voices Project and person in long-term recovery from opioid use disorder. “The Clinton Foundation and Direct Relief’s support of overdose prevention measures is so meaningful to us. Facilitating naloxone training and distribution in our five pilot states is saving lives. By treating addiction like a health issue and not a moral failing, we can address the national overdose crisis head-on.”