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A scientist at the has been recognized by TIME magazine for his work in response to the national opioid overdose epidemic.
Nabarun Dasgupta ’13 (PhD), who’s also an Innovation Fellow at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, was named to this year’s TIME100 Next list, which was started in 2019 and is affiliated with the TIME100 list of the most influential people in the world. Dasgupta is recognized alongside leaders in business, entertainment, sports, politics, activism and other fields.
The opioid overdose epidemic is one of the most significant public health challenges facing the United States and causes early deaths and health disparities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in more than 70,000 overdose deaths in 2022
Dasgupta helped launch the program Remedy Alliance For The People, which allowed naloxone, an opioid-overdose-reversing drug, to become more accessible to harm-reduction programs designed to decrease the consequences of drug use in communities. The organization distributed more than 1.6 million doses nationwide in 2022 to alleviate a shortage of the drug. “This award is so well deserved,” Nancy Messonnier, dean of Gillings School of Global Public Health, said to UNC Media Relations. “Nab’s innovative and exemplary work serves as a bright light, both illuminating the real human lives behind the generalized harm caused by street drugs and revealing the breadth of which kinds of work and care are included when we talk about ‘public health.’ ”
Dasgupta also leads the UNC Street Drug Analysis Lab, which tests samples submitted by public health programs to identify the contents of street drugs, which can vary in chemical makeup and potency. Knowing the contents of these drugs and following trends allows individuals to make informed decisions about their health. The data also provides clinicians with necessary information to improve patient treatment and address outbreaks.
“I’m delighted to be selected as part of the Time100 Next cohort,” Dasgupta told University officials. “While this may appear to be a singular honor, I am humbled to highlight the compassionate heroes who care for our loved ones and offer practical scientific solutions. It’s been life-giving to work with harm reduction programs and public health departments who are on the frontlines of preventing overdoses.”