5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About: The Opioid Overdose Epidemic (Part 1) with Stacy Stanford — DT101 E102

This episode of the Design Thinking 101 podcast is 5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About: the Opioid Overdose Epidemic. Our guest today is Stacy Stanford, the Senior Director of Overdose Injury and Violence Prevention at the National Association of County and City Health Officials in Washington DC (NACCHO). At NACCHO, she leads the overdose injury and violence prevention team to deliver funding and technical assistance to more than 60 communities across the United States.


Listen to learn about:

  • The current state of the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic
  • The ways COVID-19 has affected the healthcare system’s ability to work with and treat those who use drugs
  • The core principles of harm reduction
  • The role misperceptions and stigma about drug use play in making it difficult for those who use drugs to get treatment

Our Guest

Stacy Stanford joined NACCHO in 2012 and is currently serving as a Senior Director of Overdose, Injury and Violence Prevention. She provides leadership, planning and guidance to the team’s management and staff in the areas of drug overdose, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), falls prevention, and the intersection of COVID, ACEs, and Suicide Prevention. Prior to this position she was the Director of Public Health Transformation and led Project SHINE, a fellowship to strengthen health systems through interprofessional education. Ms. Stanford received her Masters of Science in Public Health Microbiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Denver. Prior to joining NACCHO, she worked on Influenza surveillance and in the development of HAvBED, the Hospital Bed Availability Reporting System during H1N1 at the Department of Health and Human Service.


Show Highlights

 [01:47] Stacy talks about her work at NACCHO, the membership organization of local health departments for the U.S.

[03:15] The current state of the opioid overdose epidemic.

[03:55] There have been three waves in the epidemic.

[05:04] How the COVID-19 pandemic affected our ability to respond to the epidemic.

[05:40] The worst problems caused by the pandemic.

[06:36] The rise in telemedicine and mobile vans.

[07:31] Harm reduction and keeping people safe.

[08:08] What is harm reduction?

[08:48] A misperception about drug use.

[09:42] The core principles of harm reduction.

[11:01] What implementation of harm reduction looks like in practice.

[12:42] Medication for Opioid Disorder.

[13:11] The importance of having peers throughout the programs and healthcare systems that serve those who use drugs.

[15:01] The need to change perspectives and de-stigmatize drug use.

[16:10] Intersectional stigma.

[18:09] What happens when someone gets labeled as an addict or abuser.



Stacy on LinkedIn

Chicago Recovery Alliance

National Harm Reduction Coalition

CDC Drug Overdose information website

Drug Policy Alliance



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