Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Kathryn Cardarelli

Committee Member

Dr. Robin Vanderpool

Committee Member

Dr. Angela Carman


The United States in battling an opioid epidemic, and rates of overdose fatality have soared to record highs. Kentucky is among the states with highest rates of opioid overdose fatality, and Jefferson County is responsible for about a quarter of all cases. Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Distribution (OPND) programs have been shown to decrease fatality rates by providing a medication that literally reverses opioid overdose. The programs provide other services such as education and connection to recovery facilities.

Currently, the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition provides naloxone kits to the residents of Jefferson County, but they do not have a regular presence in the community. In addition, pharmacies now have legal authority to prescribe and dispense naloxone, but this can come with a fee that many patients may not be able to afford. The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) currently operates a Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) at five different locations, totaling thirty-seven hours per week.

In the current proposal, the LMPHW is guided by a Community Advisory Group in the implementation of an OPND program, to operate concurrently with the SEP over a three-year period. Participants will be recruited via street outreach, as well as through emergency department and community pharmacy referral. We will use pre-tests, posttests, an annual fatality reports, and participant feedback in evaluation for change and outcomes. If successful, we ultimately hope to see a decrease in opioid overdose fatality rates in Jefferson County.

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