Bizzell opioid video series

Bizzell Responds to the Opioid Crisis

Bizzell Responds to the Opioid Crisis

A Message About the Opioid Crisis

From Anton C. Bizzell, M.D.

Bizzell, President & Chief Executive Officer


[Anton C. Bizzell] The opioid crisis in
the United States, driven largely by illicitly obtained synthetic
opioids such as fentanyl, is impacting communities and
families across the country and is far from being over.
From December 1999 to June 2023,
opioid related overdose deaths increased 100 and threefold.
Hardly a day goes by when there
isn’t a news item about a family losing a loved one on illicit
fentanyl seizure. A recent fentanyl seizure by
California police of 4.2 kilos was enough to potentially kill
2.1 million people. Significant spikes in the US
overdose crisis are linked to poly substance use of synthetic
compounds such as xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer.
Xylazine extends the duration of
action of fentanyl but does not respond to naloxone.
If an overdose occurs, it is
also associated with an increased risk of soft tissue
infections. Fentanyl impacts minorities at
an alarming rate, with overdose rates among non Hispanic blacks
suffering the highest mortality due to synthetic opioids other
than methadone. A new CDC report shows that more
black Americans died from fentanyl overdoses than any
other drug in 2021 and at a far higher rate than whites or
Hispanics. As a minority owned business,
Bizzell is committed to providing solutions to address
the current opioid crisis. At Bizzell US, all employees are
required to watch a brief training on a five step response
to an opioid overdose and are encouraged to carry naloxone
with them to stress the wide-ranging impact of the
opioid epidemic or frontline providers. Bizzell has created a
testimonial video with descriptions of the difficulties
and heart breaks of managing the opioid crisis as well as the
importance of treatment initiation in emergency
departments. An additional story about
fentanyl test strips comes from an emergency department
physician. As his daughter was heading off
to college. He taught her how to use
fentanyl test strips just in case. His foresight saved many lives
at a campus party because of this knowledge.
Bizzell US is proud to have created a variety of tools and
resources for public use in conjunction with the National
Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network Dissemination
Initiative, bringing research based information to clinicians
on a variety of topics related to substance use disorders.
I invite you to take the time to
review all of these important resources. There is hope. With dedicated
professionals across the United States and around the world,
Bizzell is working to help turn around the opioid crisis which
effects all of us. Please join us in our efforts by
getting trained in how to recognize and manage an opioid
overdose and carry naloxone with you so you can be a first
responder. Also, please encourage anyone
you know who is using opioids to seek treatment.
Thank you.

Responding to an Overdose

This 5–step response to a possible opioid overdose, which encourages using 911 for immediate assistance and recommends that everyone carry naloxone is a quick and accessible resource.


[Maia Brown] If you come across someone with
an opiate overdose, I’d like to share with you how you can help
in five easy steps.

Step one. Check for signs of
opiate overdose. Remember that these patients
have pinpoint pupils and decreased respiratory drive,
meaning they’re breathing less than 5 times a minute or not at all. You may also see signs of drug
use on scene, like pills on the ground or an IV needle sticking
out of their arm.

Step two. Call 911 so we can
come and help you.

Step three. If you have
naloxone, go ahead and give it. You will not hurt the patient by
trying to give this medication.

Step four. Help the patient with
their breathing. If they’re not already on their
back, roll them onto their back and put them in a sniffing
position so that they have a nice open airway. Remember that naloxone can cause
patients to vomit, in which case roll them onto their side into
the recovery position.

Step 5. Continue to monitor the patient
and look for any changes in how they present to you and wait for
help to arrive. That’s all there is to it. Thank you for being willing to

Personal Testimonials

Testimonials from front line community providers stress the wide-ranging impact of the opioid crisis. Each clip describes the difficulties and heartbreaks of managing the crisis while offering hope and stressing the importance of treatment initiation in Emergency Departments.


[Ben Savitch] I worked for many years in inner
city hospitals in Chicago, and I remember distinctly one shift
many years ago where I was working in the overnight shift
and in the morning I looked up from my computer station and I
saw that our emergency department was overwhelmed with
people that were there due to opioid overdoses. Many of these individuals had
received Narcan in the field by EMS and additional doses in the
emergency department. And that was really a
recognition point for me that we were immersed in this epidemic. And certainly the issue has
persisted and extends across our entire country.

[Angadpreet “Preet” Sidhu] My community
has been disproportionately affected by the opiate crisis. Earlier this year, New York City
Health and Hygiene released their 2021 data on overdose
deaths. One particular statistic was
breakdown by neighborhood. Metropolitan Serves East Harlem,
which ranked #5 in neighborhoods with overdose deaths in all of
New York City for 100,000 residents #6 on the list was
Harlem neighborhood served by my hospital, Harlem Hospital.

[Alan Grow] They asked that any members of
the community that know of anybody struggling with
addiction to any sort of drug or alcohol, please get them help. The most important thing is
getting these people help, realizing that the stuff that
they’re doing is not only bad for them, but it’s going to harm
somebody else.

[Kavita Babu] I think it’s a real testament
to emergency medicine how much our care of patients with a opioid
use disorder has changed in my more than 20 years in practice. When I started, we would simply
give patients a handout advising them not to use drugs, but now
we’re able to send them out of our emergency departments with
things like buprenorphine, naloxone or Suboxone, meloxone
or Narcan, as well as harm reduction supplies and won’t
hand offs to treatment programs. Prescribing buprenorphine is one
of my favorite parts of my practice. Now that there’s no X waiver
required, we’re able to bring this safe and effective
treatment to our patients in a way that decreases their
mortality, all causes and opioid related by up to 50%. Getting Narcan into the right
folks hands. We know that one in seven kids
is going to be used in a reversal to save the life. Ultimately, I’m hoping that
emergency medicine can continue its trajectory towards a stigma
free environment for these patients. Patients with OUD and all of our
patients are worth saving. Thank you for being a lifesaver.

[Angadpreet “Preet” Sidhu] What needs to be
done more is to break down the stigma of medication to opiate, of
medications for opiate use disorders such as Suboxone. Narcan saves lives, but also
Suboxone saves lives as well.

Fentanyl Strips Save Lives

Dr. Edward Boyer provides a personal anecdote on how the use of fentanyl test strips saved many lives at a college campus party.


[Edward W. Boyer] Hello everyone. My name is Ed Boyer
and I have a fentanyl story. So I’m an ER doc and a medical
toxicologist. So my area of sub specialization
is overdoses, poisonings, drug interactions and that sort of
thing. I also have a certain amount of
experience and background in the drug abuse world as well. Now, my daughter was going to
college at Syracuse University and I wanted to make sure that
she went off prepared. And one of the things that I did
was I got 5 fentanyl test strips from one of our harm reduction
colleagues at Ohio State. And I gave them to her. And my message was, I’m not
condoning. I’m not expecting you to use. I don’t expect you to
experiment. But if you ever wind up in a
situation where somebody gives you something and there’s a
temptation to use it, I want you to be safe by testing it with
these test strips. She goes off to college and time
passes, and she actually does well in college. So I’m pretty confident about
how things are going. And then in April of last year,
I got a text at like 2:00 in the morning from my daughter. And it said, essentially you
saved 300 people last night. One of the fraternities had
bought some pills and they gave them around to a whole bunch of
students. And when they got back to the
dorm, some of my daughter’s friends, “friends” wanted to use
them. So they used the fentanyl test
strips. They all contain fentanyl. You know, like, I I, I don’t
know exactly how accurate it is. I don’t know what reporting
happened, you know, the Panhellenic Council heard about
it afterward. But it highlights how the easy
availability of fentanyl test strips can save lives. And it also speaks to how a
broader based public health effort is necessary to help
minimize the the impact of, you know, like adulteration of all
sorts of substances with fentanyl.

Resources and Education

Bizzell US is proud to have created a variety of tools and resources for public use in conjunction with the National Institute of Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network Dissemination Initiative, bringing researched based information to clinicians on a variety of topics related to substance use disorders. The links provided focus on the resources created specifically to address the opioid crisis.

Reducing the Risk of Fentanyl in the U.S. Video

We can work to decrease overdose deaths by increasing awareness of the dangers of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, learning how to discuss treatment options, and demonstrating how to respond to an overdose.

NIDA CTN Slide 5

Reducing the Risk of Fentanyl in the U.S. Factsheets

Use these infographics, available in English and Spanish, to educate patients, families and communities about the dangers of illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Share the steps for recognizing and reversing overdose using naloxone.



NIDA CTN Slide 6

Overdose Prevention Education for Clinicians Treating Patients with Opioid Use Disorder Video

This brief video offers strategies for overdose prevention through identification of an individual’s risk factors, stressing the importance of treatment adherence, safety planning, and overdose rescue preparation.

NIDA CTN Slide 8

Overdose Prevention Education for Clinicians Treating Patients with Opioids for Chronic Pain

Treating patients with opioids for chronic pain includes the risk of development of opioid use disorder and overdose. This brief video offers strategies for avoiding onset of opioid use disorder as well as overdose prevention through identification of individual risk, safety planning and overdose rescue preparation.

NIDA CTN Slide 9

The Case for Buprenorphine Initiation in the Emergency Department: Why, When, and How?

Listen and learn from nationally recognized experts in these 15-minute podcasts about the importance and effectiveness of starting buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) in emergency departments.

NIDA CTN Slide 11

Opioid Use Disorder in Emergency Departments

Learn best practices for patient-centered approaches to addressing opioid use disorder in the emergency department.

NIDA CTN Slide 12

Bizzell Wins Two 2023 MUSE Creative Awards for Public Health Projects

Bizzell Wins Two 2023 MUSE Creative Awards for Public Health Projects

Bizzell was awarded two 2023 MUSE Creative Awards; a Gold award for a video and Silver award for a publication, both designed to support the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network Dissemination Initiative, which aims to reduce the gap that exists between the publication of research on treatment of substance use disorders and implementation in clinical practice.

This year, Bizzell received the top honor of a Gold MUSE Creative Award in the Video-Educational category for the Reducing the Risks of Fentanyl in the U.S. This video was created in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Center for Addiction Medicine and Policy in response to rising rates of drug overdose deaths involving opioids. The video also stresses that everyone can be a first responder by carrying naloxone.

Bizzell also won a Silver MUSE Creative Award in the Publication category for the What is Fentanyl Infographic. This infographic was produced in response to the more than 80,000 opioid overdose deaths that occurred in 2020 driven by the illegally produced fentanyl that contaminates illegally produced opioids and benzodiazepines, as well as cocaine and synthetic cannabinoids. Additional information is provided regarding the impact of fentanyl on minorities, the need for broad-reaching awareness and education about the risks of fentanyl exposure, the warning signs of a possible overdose, how to reverse an overdose, and the use of naloxone.

About The MUSE Creative Awards

The MUSE Creative Awards is part of the MUSE Awards Program, which was created by the IAA in 2015. IAA’s inception was based on a mission to honor, promote and encourage creativity by providing a new standard of excellence for evaluation media design production and distribution. IAA’s mission has largely shaped MCA’s goal.

Website: MUSE Creative Awards

Recovery: Breaking the Stigma of Addiction

Recovery: Breaking the Stigma of Addiction

By Bizzell Editorial Staff

Deadbeat. Druggie. Drunkard. Hopeless. These words are still part of the stigma associated with the disease of addiction. And, unfortunately, feeling stigmatized can make people with substance use disorders (SUDs) less willing to seek treatment [1]Hadland, S. E., Park, T. W., & Bagley, S. M. (2018, May 7) Stigma associated with medication treatment for young adults with opioid use disorder: a case series. Addict Sci Clin Practice, 13(1),15. doi: 10.1186/s13722-018-0116-2. PMID: 29730987; PMCID: PMC5937046.. September is Recovery Month, a time dedicated to inspiring hope and raising awareness that recovery from SUDs is possible. This month carries significant meaning for many individuals, families, and communities as a time to honor those recovering from the disease. Those in recovery serve as beacons of hope, shining light on the many challenges faced by millions and highlighting the successes achieved through resilience, determination, and support. Breaking down the stigma associated with SUDs is a vital purpose of celebrating Recovery Month.

Stigma is the prejudicial attitudes and discrimination that people battling SUDs often face. Examples of stigmatic behavior can include inaccurate or unfounded beliefs that people with SUDs are dangerous, incapable of managing treatment, have moral or value failures, or are otherwise at fault for their condition. The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is removing these barriers by providing guidance and resources to help families navigate existing stigmas and help them avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes. By openly discussing recovery pathways and sharing stories of healing, we can foster an environment where people feel safe to ask for help and access needed support.

According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA), stigma affects people with from SUDs by:

  • Reducing the willingness of individuals to seek treatment. 
  • Leading others to feel pity, fear, anger, and a desire for social distance from the person due to stereotypes. 
  • Influencing language, e.g., “alcoholic,” that negatively impacts the perceptions of healthcare providers.  

Shatterproof is a leading national organization dedicated to combating the stigmatizing effects of addiction. They share best practices and resources to positively impact individuals and families grappling with addiction. Examples include:

  1. Change your Language
  2. Take a Pledge
  3. Crisis Resources
  4. Resources for Family & Friends
  5. Resources for Peers
  6. Treatment Resources
  7. Resources for Loss

Recovery Month also sheds light on the significance of accessible and effective treatment options for SUDs. Advocates use this month to raise awareness about the importance of evidence-based quality care, early intervention, harm reduction and the elimination of barriers to treatment. Addiction is a condition that can have a devastating impact on young adults, but it is often not treated effectively.

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 94 percent of people aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment. Nearly all those with a substance use disorder who were not treated at a specialty facility did not believe that they needed treatment. Organizations such as Young People In Recovery (YPR) are mobilizing efforts to address the imbalance in care. YPR embraces all pathways to recovery including 12-step, harm reduction, medication-assisted treatment, and others to help young adults struggling with addiction.

Bizzell is committed to supporting those in their recovery journey. Earlier this year, we published “Peer Recovery Support Services: A Promising Approach to Combat Substance Use Disorders.” This spotlight describes how peer recovery support services are used to extend the capacity of healthcare workers and to offer ongoing SUD treatment. Bizzell continues to partner with federal agencies to address these issues through a variety of avenues. Through our work with NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network, we produced online educational resources on topics related to screening, fentanyl overdose prevention, and treatment for methamphetamine use disorder.

As September unfolds, remember that healing is possible, and hope is ever-present. Recovery Month encourages us to look beyond the challenges and setbacks, focusing instead on the strength and resilience that lie within each individual and their families and communities. Here are four things you can do to help #StoptheStigma of addiction:

  1. Educate yourself and others about addiction and recovery. The more people understand about addiction, the less likely they are to stigmatize those in recovery.
  2. Use person-first language. Instead of saying “addict” or “alcoholic,” say “person with an addiction” or “person in recovery” to focus on the person, not their condition.
  3. Challenge stigma when you see it. If you hear someone making a negative comment about addiction or recovery, use the opportunity to educate them about how their comments are harmful and offer a more accurate perspective.
  4. Be supportive. Let people facing SUDs know that you are there for them and consider offering practical help, such as rides to meetings or childcare.


[1] Hadland, S. E., Park, T. W., & Bagley, S. M. (2018, May 7) Stigma associated with medication treatment for young adults with opioid use disorder: a case series. Addict Sci Clin Practice, 13(1),15. doi: 10.1186/s13722-018-0116-2. PMID: 29730987; PMCID: PMC5937046.

Senior Associates at Bizzell Co-author NIDA Report on Improving Adolescent Health

Senior Associates at Bizzell Co-author NIDA Report on Improving Adolescent Health

According to numerous reports, it takes roughly 17 years [1] for research findings to find their way into routine clinical practice, depriving adults, and children of timely and effective therapeutic care. The improvement of adolescent health ultimately depends on access to timely research and scientific findings from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to better educate health care professionals, policymakers, adolescents, and their families. The “National Institute of Drug Abuse: Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge to Improve Adolescent Health” report spotlights NIDA’s vigorous efforts to accomplish the dissemination of evidence-based information achieved through varying approaches to diverse and targeted audiences; more specifically on substance use disorders (SUD) in the adolescent population.

The NIDA Clinical Trials Network Dissemination Initiative contract, held by Bizzell US, is overseen by co-authors Dr. Todd Mandell and Kenyatta Crenshaw. Within the report, the co-authors share evidence-based educational resources and materials developed to reduce the persistent gap between the publication of research findings on the treatment of SUDs and best practices for implementation and adoption in clinical practice. Dr. Mandell and Ms. Crenshaw also address the Mentor Facilitated Training Program (MFT), which is part of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network Dissemination Initiative contract. An overview of the MFT program is provided in the article, demonstrating how trainees in the field of substance use are encouraged to expand their depth of knowledge by the 1) identification of gaps in substance abuse training; and 2) dissemination of NIDA-sponsored, evidence-based resources/tools to their peers. The study was published in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North American Volume 32, Issue 1, January 2023.

“I would like to congratulate Dr. Mandell and Ms. Crenshaw, and the other contributing authors, on the publication of the report, the recommendations are another imperative step to ensuring that the dissemination and access to critical data and tools is widely accessible to the public health community” said Anton C. Bizzell, MD, Chairman & CEO of Bizzell.

[1] Morris ZS, Wooding S, Grant J. The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. J R Soc Med 2011;104(12): 510–20. Accessed December 14, 2021.

About Bizzell US

Established in 2010, Bizzell US is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) HUBZone-certified strategy, consulting, and technology firm with a mission to improve lives and accelerate change. Bizzell US develops innovative solutions to some of the most critical issues of our time such as health care services equity, global health, workforce innovation, and other urgent needs facing the world. Under the leadership and vision of founder, Anton C. Bizzell, MD, the company has grown into a thriving firm, headquartered in New Carrollton, Maryland, with staff and offices in various regions around the country, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Georgia, and globally in Africa, Asia, and Central America. Learn more about how we develop data-driven, research-informed, innovative solutions to complex, real-world challenges. Learn more at