Overdose death in the United States has increased at an alarming rate since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 100,000 deaths reported during the 12-month period ending in April 2021. Despite rising rates of overdose, substance use-related harms are preventable. Peer support services are a valuable component of overdose response programs to help link individuals at risk of overdose to evidence-based treatment and services.

Local and state health departments are well-suited to integrate peer support services into their overdose response and linkage to care initiatives, but unique planning and implementation considerations must be addressed.

To help public health practitioners implement and enhance peer support services, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, developed Establishing Peer Support Services for Overdose Response: A Toolkit for Health Departments, a technical assistance tool informed by real-world experience.

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