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Heather Lusk, Director, CHOW Project

(808) 393-4624
Reducing Harm. Optimizing Health.
Serving harm reduction with aloha for over 20 years.

The CHOW Project Applauds New DOH

Opioid Response Plan
Honolulu, HI December 1 2017

The CHOW Project applauds the Hawaii Department of Healths coordinated effort to combat
the growing opioid crisis with The Hawaii Opioid Initiative: A Statewide Response. The action
plan aims to not only address the immediate emergency of opioid-related harms in our islands,
but to also improve our continuum of care and broader capacity to effectively respond to public
health crises. A key feature of the Initiative is that it brings together the expertise and resources
of prominent private and public organizations to leverage a collaborative effort in the six focus
areas of treatment access, prescriber education, data informed decision making, prevention
and public education, pharmacy-based interventions, and law enforcement and first responder
support. The CHOW Project is hopeful that this community-based approach will help Hawaii
prevent the magnitude of tragic effects of drug overdose experienced in other parts of the
country. The plan is available for viewing at

The Opioid Crisis in Hawaii

Accidental drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death both in Hawaii and on the
continent. This ground-breaking plan will provide a roadmap to decrease opioid-related deaths
and other harms associated with the opioid epidemic, such as new cases of HIV and hepatitis C.
Hawaii has one of the highest rates of liver cancer because of our high rates of hepatitis B and
C. Opioid use and misuse affects people from all walks of life, and overdoses stem from both
prescribed and street-based opioids. The newly released response from DOH highlights that
substance use dependence is a chronic health condition and that both a public health and
public safety response are necessary to address the complexities of the opioid epidemic.

The CHOW Project

The CHOW Project is dedicated to serving individuals, families and communities adversely
affected by drug use, especially people who inject drugs, through a participant-centered harm
reduction approach. CHOW works to reduce drug-related harms such as but not limited to HIV,
hepatitis B/C and overdose. CHOW supports the optimal health and well-being of people
affected by drug use throughout the State of Hawaii.

For more information about the CHOW Project, please visit