The opioid epidemic affects all of us.
Together, we can heal our communities by building better support systems that connect people with opioid use disorder to treatment and recovery services and educate more residents about overdose prevention.
Whether you are in recovery, supporting a loved one, or wondering how your organization can make a difference, this page includes resources to help you make your neighborhood a place where recovery can thrive.
How You Can Help
There are many proven ways to support people with opioid use disorder. Some actions anyone can take to reduce opioid overdose deaths and create a recovery-friendly community are:
- Share educational resources. Spread awareness about the common signs of opioid use disorder so that people can identify opioid misuse early and prevent it from interfering with their work, health, and home life.
- Provide treatment referrals. Share information about local health care providers that can prescribe FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder. Start by visiting your community’s page (click on the “Find Local Resources” link in our website menu) or looking at a national treatment locator.
- Offer logistical and emotional support. Reach out to people with opioid use disorder and their families and ask how you can support them during recovery. Remove barriers to treatment by offering free transportation to doctors’ appointments, flexible work hours, and assistance with food, childcare, and other essential necessities.
- Support a loved one with their recovery. Support your loved one’s interest in going to and staying in treatment for the long term. Learn how to talk to a loved one about their opioid use and understand options for treatment with medicines for opioid used disorder.
- Change the way you talk about addiction. Use person-first language (for example, say “person with opioid use disorder” instead of “addict”) to put people before their diagnosis and choose words that lessen the blame and shame.
- Create a stigma-free environment in your organization. Make your workplace, faith-based organization, or other community setting a judgment-free zone that supports people as they find and stay in treatment. Learn how your organization can help people rebuild their lives, transition back to work, and get support from their workplace.
- Carry naloxone to help save a life. Keep naloxone nearby if you know someone who uses opioids. Anyone can save a life by giving naloxone to someone who is overdosing from a prescription opioid pain medicine, heroin, or a drug containing fentanyl. Organizations can also store naloxone with their first aid supplies. Go to your community’s page (click on “Find Local Resources” in the website menu) or visit Next Naloxone to learn how to get naloxone in your state.
- Change the way you talk about addiction. Attend an online training to learn how to identify and respond to an overdose, get comfortable giving naloxone, and understand its potential effects.
- Create a stigma-free environment in your organization. Look up Good Samaritan laws in your state, which offer legal protection for overdose victims or bystanders who call first responders to the scene. Make sure people in your community are aware of these laws so that they do not hesitate to call 911 in the event of an overdose.
View the laws for each state participating in the HEALing Communities Study:
Get Involved Locally
Do you live in one of the communities that is participating in the HEALing Communities Study? If so, you can support your local coalition's efforts to reduce overdose deaths by sharing their outreach materials and the link to your community page on this website with people looking for local resources for naloxone. Also share information on providers who can prescribe medications to treat opioid use disorder. You can also use our communication playbooks to get tips and guidance on effective community outreach.
Request HEALing Communities Study Materials
Fill out the form below to connect with your local coalition and get started. Your local HEALing Communities Study coalition will reach out to you with more information.