The great organization VOCAL, which is led by and represents people who use drugs, people living with HIV and people affected by mass incarceration in New York, has just released a report called "Beyond Methadone: Improving the Health of Patients in Opioid Treatment Programs." The information in the report is relevant well beyond New York - issues related to patient rights, access to harm reduction services, hepatitis care and treatment, policing, and other areas will be familiar to anyone working on opioid substitution therapy anywhere in the world.
So the whole thing is worth a read, but on OPA we'd like to highlight the report's findings related to overdose. Among people interviewed for the report - all current methadone patients - 10% had experienced overdose themselves in the past 2 years, 20% had been with someone who had overdosed, but 70% of them had no overdose education or naloxone access through their methadone program.
This is changing. Not long ago I spoke with some folks from the Beth Israel Medical Center methadone program (New York's largest methadone provider), who had recently started ramping up overdose education and prescribing naloxone. But VOCAL's report is an important reminder that programs need to move, and now.