The lecture will provide an understanding of the current opioid epidemic and the confluences of factors that paved the way for our current state of unprecedented high rates of overdose deaths. The course will discuss and define harm reduction, and focus on one tool that is currently being employed to reduce overdose among people who use drugs (PWUD). Ultimately, the course will discuss data from studies that demonstrate PWUDs’ ability and implementation of novel life saving methods.
- To learn about the phases of opioid epidemic, that resulted in the current state of a highly adulterated drug market.
- To understand harm reduction as a holistic response to the overdose epidemic.
- To learn about the history of drug checking, validated technologies, and the evidence that supports acceptability among people who use drugs.
- Learn about the policy barriers and facilitators of implementing drug checking as a part of a holistic response to the opioid epidemic.
Dr. Susan Sherman is a Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Behavior and Society. She is a social scientist whose focuses on the documenting and intervening on structural drivers of HIV/STIs and violence among people who use drugs and engage in sex work. She has conducted extensive research in India, Thailand, and Pakistan examining the role of microeconomics and peer influence on reducing HIV risk among people who use drugs and women who sell sex. She is the Co-Director of the Baltimore HIV Collaboratory as well as the Addiction and Overdose focus area of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. She has recently examined the validity, acceptability, and implementation of several fentanyl testing technologies. That study led to a change in the law in Maryland regarding the legality of drug checking and informed programs throughout the U.S.