Opioid and Substance Misuse Response Program


The Opioid and Substance Misuse Response Program is responsible for responding to the opioid epidemic and other emerging issues around substance misuse. Established in 2016 with federal grant funding, the Georgia Department of Public Health's (DPH) initiative focuses on combating the statewide opioid crisis. In September 2019, the Georgia Department of Public Health was one of the 66 recipients awarded the CDC’s Overdose Data to Action cooperative agreement. The Opioid and Substance Misuse Response Program collaborates closely with the Drug Surveillance Unit (DSU), utilizing drug overdose data to inform prevention and response efforts statewide. Additionally, the program maintains and enhances Georgia’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). This program addresses the multifaceted nature of the drug overdose epidemic, emphasizing the necessity of an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and cohesive public health approach. It allocates funds towards both surveillance and prevention strategies across the state.

With the new 5-year grant, the following initiatives are currently in progress:


  • Training and Education

    ​​​​​​The program is developing training sessions covering various topics, including updated training on opioid overdose/naloxone administration for first responders, clinician and nurse training on Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), and training on linkages of care for state Public Health Analysts.

  • Harm Reduction Efforts

    The program ensures the ongoing provision of harm reduction supplies throughout the state by distributing naloxone to communities through Public Health Analysts (PHAs). Additionally, the program is currently collaborating with organizations to install repurposed newspaper stands, offering 24-hour access to harm reduction supplies, including naloxone and Fentanyl test strips.

  • Linkages to Care

    The program is currently developing training initiatives aimed at encouraging hospital staff and designated personnel in correctional settings to offer overdose prevention education. Additionally, upon release, these initiatives aim to facilitate connections to naloxone, linkages to care, access to resources, peer navigators, and treatment options.

  • Syringe Service Programs

    As of August 2020, Georgia allows for the legal establishment of Syringe Service Programs (also known as syringe exchange program, syringe access programs, drug user health hubs, hypodermic syringe, and needle exchange programs).

    The Georgia Department of Public Health’s Opioid and Substance Misuse is responsible for supporting and overseeing the Georgia Syringe Service Program, which certifies legal requirements are satisfied before any program begins providing services, ensures programs remain compliant once certified, and provides technical assistance to programs as needed. This ensures programs meet the requirements above and understand the limited immunity provision, and to facilitate connection between programs and existing services.                       

    To begin the application, all applicants must create a Knack account. This will allow applicants to   save their application periodically, receive notifications from the Georgia SSP, and meet routine data collection requirements.

  • PHAs

    Public Health Analysts (PHAs) are locally-embedded employees within Georgia's 18 health districts. Their main responsibility is to execute strategies aimed at preventing and responding to overdoses from opioids, stimulants, and polysubstance use. This involves fostering collaborations among various partners within the district to curb drug overdoses. PHAs bridge the gap between local law enforcement, district and state public health agencies, as well as prevention and treatment organizations. Additionally, they handle responses to overdose clusters and prescription disruption events in their districts, offer substance abuse education, and assist in distributing harm reduction materials to their community.

Contact Information 

Opioid and Substance Misuse Response Program
[email protected]



Page last updated 6/24/2024