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January 11, 2023

Drug Market Disruptions and Overdose Risk

Disruptions to the drug market can increase the risk of overdose. This risk is particularly heightened for those dependent on opioids because physical tolerance builds up quickly with regular use but rapidly decreases, often with painful withdrawal symptoms. Thus, opioid-dependent persons may seek alternative supplies from unregulated sources with unknown potency and composition to avoid these symptoms.

To effectively mitigate this harmful substitution mechanism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established the Opioid Rapid Response Program (ORRP), which coordinates community overdose prevention efforts and systems alerting state health agencies to prepare for and respond to law enforcement disruptions to long-entrenched opioid prescribing patterns. However, there is emerging evidence that this same substitution mechanism resulting in increased overdose risk can occur daily in communities where there are law enforcement disruptions to the illicit drug market.

During this webinar, we review the scientific research on the association between these drug market disruptions and overdose risk before hearing from the ORRP Program Manager about how communities are working to mitigate these unintended consequences along with COSSAP grantees who are developing alternative response strategies based on drug seizure information.


  • Brad Ray, PhD, RTI International
  • Richard Meadows, Drug Strategy Enforcement Administrator, Ohio Department of Public Safety
  • Erin Reed, Coordinator, Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Law Enforcement Initiatives
  • Stephanie Rubel, Health Scientist, Division of Overdose Prevention, CDC


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