Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 6–11 | Cite as

Community-Based Response to Fentanyl Overdose Outbreak, San Francisco, 2015

  • Christopher RoweEmail author
  • Eliza Wheeler
  • T. Stephen Jones
  • Clement Yeh
  • Phillip O. Coffin
Brief Report


This report documents a successful intervention by a community-based naloxone distribution program in San Francisco. The program and its partner organizations, working with participants who use drugs, first identified the appearance of illicitly made fentanyl and increased outreach and naloxone distribution. Distribution of naloxone and reported use of naloxone to reverse opioid-involved overdoses increased significantly while the number of opioid-involved and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths did not. Community-based programs that provide training and naloxone to people who use drugs can serve as an early warning system for overdose risk and adaptively respond to the rapidly changing overdose risk environment.


Fentanyl Naloxone Opioid overdose People who use drugs Community-based response 



The authors acknowledge and thank Michael Gilbert, Kara Lynch, Alex Kral, and Jon Zibbell for valuable suggestions during the preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


The authors are solely responsible for the content of this article, which does not necessarily represent the official views of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Supplementary material

11524_2018_250_MOESM1_ESM.docx (36 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 36 kb)


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco Department of Public HealthSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.University of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Harm Reduction CoalitionOaklandUSA
  4. 4.Public Health ConsultingFlorenceUSA
  5. 5.San Francisco Fire DepartmentSan FranciscoUSA
  6. 6.University of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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