Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) Program

An effective overdose prevention model in San Francisco that distributes naloxone to the most at-risk populations in the community

In December 2001, the Drug Overdose Prevention & Education (DOPE) Project began performing overdose education in San Francisco shelters, jails, treatment programs, and single room occupancy hotels and at syringe access programs. Since November 2003 the DOPE Project has coordinated distribution of naloxone via San Francisco service providers. In June 2005, the DOPE Project became a program of the Harm Reduction Coalition.

Currently, the DOPE Project is the largest single-city naloxone distribution program in the country, responsible for training over 13,000 people in San Francisco. People who use drugs, their loved ones, and surrounding community members are responsible for reversing on average 1,500 overdoses a year with DOPE Project naloxone.  

Participants reported that 89% (of overdoses) were reversed.

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

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

“From September 2003 to December 2009, 1,942 individuals were trained and prescribed naloxone through the DOPE Project, of whom 24% returned to receive a naloxone refill, and 11% reported using naloxone during an overdose event. Of 399 overdose events where naloxone was used, participants reported that 89% were reversed. In addition, 83% of participants who reported overdose reversal attributed the reversal to their administration of naloxone, and fewer than 1% reported serious adverse effects. Findings from the DOPE Project add to a growing body of research that suggests that IDUs at high risk of witnessing overdose events are willing to be trained on overdose response strategies and use take-home naloxone during overdose events to prevent deaths.”  (Enteen et al., 2017)