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Opioid overdose and naloxone education in a substance use disorder treatment program.

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journal contribution
posted on 10.06.2016, 00:00 by DC Lott, J Rhodes
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Opioid users in treatment are at high risk of relapse and overdose, making them an important target for efforts to reduce opioid overdose mortality. Overdose Education (OE) is one such intervention, and this study tests the effectiveness of OE in a community substance use disorder treatment program. METHODS: Opioid users were recruited from a community treatment center for the study. The Opioid Overdose Knowledge Scale (OOKS) was administered before and after an educational intervention (small group lecture, slideshow, and handout based on previously published content) to assess knowledge of the risks, signs, and actions associated with opioid overdose, including use of naloxone. Additional survey questions assessed naloxone access, naloxone education, and overdose experiences at treatment and 3-month follow-up. Subjects (n = 43) were 28% female and had a mean age of 31 years. OOKS scores were compared at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and follow-up, and results were also compared with a historical non-intervention control group (n = 14). RESULTS: Total score on the OOKS increased significantly from pre- to post-education, and improvement was maintained at follow-up (p < .0001). OOKS subdomains of actions and naloxone use also had significant increases (p < .0001). Four subjects reported possessing naloxone in the past, and only one subject who did not already have naloxone at the time of treatment had obtained it at follow-up. CONCLUSIONS AND SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: Education about opioid overdose and naloxone use in a community treatment program increases overdose knowledge, providing support for the idea of making OE a routine part of substance use disorder treatment. However, the rate of follow through on accessing naloxone was low with this education-only intervention.


DL and JR received financial support from Linden Oaks.


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This is a copy of an article published in the American Journal on Addictions © 2016 Wiley Open Access Publications.


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