The forum, co-sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Administration, was held in Washington, D.C., in August.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology Jennifer Carroll was invited to serve as an expert panelist at the first National Forum on Overdose Fatality Review. The forum brought public health and law enforcement professonials from across the country to Washington, D.C., to discuss best practices for conducting fatality reviews in their home communities.
Overdose fatality reviews are a recent innovation in efforts to reduce the rate of opioid overdose. This strategy relies on confidential, detailed investigations into the recent history of individuals who suffered a fatal overdose in order to identify policy changes and prevention strategies that might have forestalled this death–and, by extention, other similar deaths that may occur in the future.
Carroll was invited by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Administration to lead an educational seminar on how to develop effective prevention strategies out of insights gained through confidential fatality reviews. Carroll drew not only on her experience working in overdose prevention planning at the CDC but also her training and research experience as a cultural anthropologist as she encouraged attendees to pay attention to the lived experinces of people at risk. Her seminar underscored the importance of including directly impacted people (people in recovery, people with a history of substance use, and people who still use substances today) in the planning and evaluation of novel prevention efforts.
Carroll especially emphasized the need for people of color to be represented and placed in positions of leadership at all levels of planning and implementation.