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Revolutionizing the Opioid Response in 2019: A Year in Review

In the face of a rapidly evolving opioid crisis, the research and the response must be resilient. This past year involved efforts to further expand ways to combat the crisis on the state and community levels, to track secondary impacts of the crisis—including the rise of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome—and to increase access to quality treatment.

As harm reduction efforts continued to pave new paths to understand the true impact of supervised consumption services (SCS) and naloxone distribution programs,  prevention and prediction efforts evolved to stay in front of the patterns of addiction and overdose deaths. Meanwhile, the industry continued to fight against the undercurrent of systematic and structural stigma.

Look back at 2019's landmark studies and formative work in the following key areas to see how RTI International continues to lead the industry in providing a comprehensive opioid response.

State- and Community-Based Responses

Last year saw an increased emphasis to combat the crisis on the ground in states and local communities. RTI played a pivotal role in supporting these efforts by:  

Increasing Access to Quality Treatment

Ensuring providers offer quality opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment and increasing access to that treatment are crucial cornerstones for combatting the crisis. In 2019, RTI supported these efforts by:


Stigma, in all its forms, is destabilizing—not only to the individuals eclipsed by its dehumanizing shadow, but also to the foundation upon which we combat the crisis. Whether it's systematic or structural, stigma leaves a legacy of isolation that cannot continue if we hope to win the opioid war. In 2019, RTI sought to understand, dismantle and dispel opioid-related stigma by: 

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction efforts to minimize the negative effects associated with drug use rose to the forefront of the crisis in 2019. RTI’s prominent role in harm reduction included:  

Prevention and Prediction

The importance of implementing effective prevention tactics remains paramount to combating the crisis, but 2019 saw a new element in prevention efforts: using data to predict where emerging trends and overdose deaths could happen next, allowing states and communities to scale up efforts where needed. RTI contributed to both prevention and prediction efforts by:  

Secondary Impacts of the Crisis

The impact of the opioid crisis continues to spread into other areas of public health concern. In 2019, RTI studied areas that experienced the strongest secondary impacts of opioid addiction, including:  

Learn More

Learn more about RTI's commitment to support the full spectrum of efforts needed to combat this epidemic—including treatment, prevention, intervention and more.

View our opioid experts below, and contact us to learn how we can support you.