Overdose Prevention and Response

As the number of overdose incidents caused by heroin and other opioids continue to rise, along with the increased use of more potent opioids that carry higher risk, championing data-driven strategies to prevent and respond to overdose is critical. The Overdose Prevention and Response unit aims to reduce deaths and other harms resulting from opioid misuse. The initiatives of this unit include both academic research projects and community-based interventions, in addition to supporting the work of our collaborative partners.


We deliver Overdose Rescue Training to community members, preparing them to act quickly and appropriately during an overdose emergency to help save lives. In the event of an overdose, there are several ways that non-medical bystanders can intervene while waiting for the assistance of medical professionals – by calling for help, giving the person overdose-reversal medicine (naloxone - also known by the brand names Narcan and Evzio), and performing CPR if needed.

Part B Survey MailDuring each training session, which typically lasts 45 minutes, participants learn about the opioid crisis and overdose risks, how to recognize the signs of an overdose, how to respond if they encounter an overdose, and strategies for supporting survivors in seeking treatment and recovery services. Each participant receives an Overdose Rescue Kit – which contains the opioid antidote Narcan (a nasal spray that reverses opioid overdose), a protective mask with a one-way valve for use during mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing, and an information card summarizing key points from the training. This training initiative is a joint endeavor between the Center for Urban Studies and partner groups including the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University and the Detroit East Medical Control Authority.

We are now delivering training to participants in four of the highest-need Detroit zip codes – 48209, 48224, 48213, and 48201. These training activities are made possible with the support of a consortium of funders, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and the Superior Health Foundation.

Beginning in Spring 2019, we will be working with Detroit Health Department and other collaborators to extend overdose rescue training to other areas in the City of Detroit with the support of a grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  

 In Fall 2019, the Center expects to launch the AmeriCorps Community Training (ACT) for Overdose Rescue program. ACT will expand these training efforts to other communities in the tri-county (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb) region where high numbers of overdoses are also occurring.


Our work is made possible by the support of many partners and generous funders, including individual donations from community members like you. 

To contribute a donation to the Overdose Prevention and Response unit, please visit https://giving.wayne.edu/donate/urban and where asked to provide “other designation or notes about you gift”, type “Overdose Prevention and Response”.

Online donations to CUS are processed through Wayne State University (WSU). WSU does not charge a fee per transaction, so all donations go directly to the Center to support their advocacy and research efforts. All donations are tax-deductible.