Relay: A Peer-Delivered Emergency Department–Based Response to Nonfatal Opioid Overdose

Alice E. Welch, DrPH, MPH, RPh; Angela Jeffers, MA; Bennett Allen, MA; Denise Paone, EdD; Hillary V. Kunins, MD, MPH, MS


Am J Public Health. 2019;109(10):1392-1395. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Relay, a peer-delivered response to nonfatal opioid overdoses, provides overdose prevention education, naloxone, support, and linkage to care to opioid overdose survivors for 90 days after an overdose event. From June 2017 to December 2018, Relay operated in seven New York City emergency departments and enrolled 649 of the 876 eligible individuals seen (74%). Preliminary data show high engagement, primarily among individuals not touched by harm reduction or naloxone distribution networks. Relay is a novel and replicable response to the opioid epidemic.


In this article, we describe an innovative nonfatal overdose response system delivered by peers in selected emergency departments across New York City.