There were over 94,000 overdose deaths in 2020—a nearly 31% surge from the record numbers we saw in 2019. Most of these deaths are preventable, but the "tough on crime" rhetoric of the decades-long drug war and the stigma associated with drug use have blocked the widespread adoption of life-saving overdose prevention and treatment policies.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is leading the national effort to reduce drug overdose deaths by promoting sensible, evidence-based solutions at the state and federal level.
Overdoses and other drug-related medical emergencies are far more common than most people think – but they do not have to be lethal. Learn the signs of what an overdose looks like for some commonly used drugs (alcohol, MDMA, cocaine and other stimulants, and heroin/opioids) and what actions you can take to help save someone’s life.
Denise Cullen, co-founder and board member of GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) and Broken No More, became an outspoken advocate for drug policy reform after losing her son, Jeff, to an overdose in 2008.
The drug war has seeded ineffective and inhumane housing policies on drug use, which make it possible for landlords to evict people who use drugs. Eviction increases the risk of overdose death and causes homelessness. These policies hurt people and do not make communities stronger or healthier.
Learn more about how the drug war invades our homes at UprootingTheDrugWar.org.
Evidence-based harm reduction and treatment interventions are cost effective, save lives, and deliver critical resources and information to people most at risk of experiencing an overdose.
DPA is working to pass federal and state legislation that would remove barriers to effective harm reduction and treatment interventions, monitor overdose trends, support research on overdose and potential solutions, and allocate much-needed funding to support life-saving overdose prevention programs.
Learn more about the solutions: