Barriers to implementation of opioid overdose prevention programs in Ohio

Document Type


Publication Date



Background—Nationally, overdose fatalities have reached epidemic proportions. Ohio has one of the highest overdose death rates in the country, as well as high rates of prescription opioid trafficking. Methods—A cross-sectional self-report survey of Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs (OOPPs) in Ohio was conducted between August and October 2014 to characterize programs and ascertain barriers to successful implementation. A 91% response rate was achieved with 18 programs participating in the study. Results—The first Ohio OOPP opened in August 2012, a second program opened in 2013 and the remaining programs began in 2014. All of the programs distribute nasal naloxone and provide overdose prevention education, and 89% (n = 16) provide overdose kits for free. Six OOPPs are funded by the Ohio Department of Health, three programs are funded by a local health foundation and several other public and private funding sources were reported. The OOPPs have funding to distribute a combined total of 8,670 overdose kits and had distributed 1,998 kits by October 2014. The OOPPs reported 149 overdose reversals. Fifteen programs (83%) reported implementation barriers that were categorized as stigma, cost, staffing, legal, regulatory and client related problems. Legislative changes aimed at removing some of the obstacles to distribution and lay administration of naloxone have recently been enacted in Ohio.Conclusions—OOPPs have rapidly expanded in Ohio during the past three years. While recent legislative changes have addressed some of the reported implementation barriers, stigma and the cost of naloxone remains a significant problem.