Project DAWN

A statewide initiative in Ohio to provide opioid overdose education and increase naloxone distribution at clinics and hospital emergency departments

Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) is a network of opioid education and naloxone distribution programs in Ohio that distributes naloxone rescue kits at clinics and hospital emergency departments and provides training in opioid overdose prevention. This hospital-based opioid education and naloxone distribution (OEND) program dispenses take-home naloxone rescue kits to individuals treated in the emergency department for opioid overdose.  

A comprehensive statewide toolkit is available online through the Ohio Department of Health on implementing a community take-home naloxone distribution program for lay responders in Ohio. The toolkit compiles Project DAWN-relevant documents and links, including sample naloxone protocols, policies and procedures; naloxone inventory and dispensing logs; guidance on naloxone billing, and training materials. The Ohio Department of Health also lists Project DAWN sites by county.  


The program is responsible for the reversal of 2,000 overdoses in just one county.

Continuum of Care
Harm Reduction
Type of Evidence
Response Approach
Overdose prevention
Peer-reviewed Article

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

Anecdotal information on the program’s success as well as evidence from a peer-reviewed article:

“The program has reversed more than 2,000 overdoses in Cuyahoga County since its inception, said Dr. Joan Papp, who spearheaded Project DAWN and is the director of MetroHealth’s Office of Opioid Safety...overdoses deaths decreased 23% in the county from 2017 to 2018." 

“We identified 291 emergency department heroin overdose encounters by ICD-9 or 10 codes and were analyzed. A total of 71% of heroin overdose survivors received a naloxone rescue kit at emergency department discharge. Between the patients who did not receive a naloxone rescue kit at discharge, no overdose deaths occurred and 10.8% reached the composite outcome. Of the patients who received a naloxone rescue kit, 14.4% reached the composite endpoint and 7 opioid overdose deaths occurred in this cohort. No difference in mortality at 3 or 6 months was detected, p = 0.15 and 0.36 respectively. No difference in the composite outcome was detected at 3 or 6 months either, p = 0.9 and 0.99 respectively.” (Papp et al., 2019)