We propose to develop an innovative, comprehensive, easily accessible, low-cost curriculum on opioid- overdose (OD) prevention for Public Safety Personnel - Police, Firefighters and EMTs. Public Safety Personnel (PSP) have a critical role to play in effectively responding to an OD-related 911 call, yet many are not equipped with the knowledge and tools to respond effectively. This 2-track curriculum [one track for police;a second track for firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs)] will provide targeted, up-to-date, lifesaving information and teach skills on how to safely and effectively respond to an OD emergency. In the U.S. fatal drug ODs, from both legal and illegal drugs, have increased dramatically. According to the CDC, in 2007, drug-induced deaths climbed to more than 38,000. This increase was driven primarily by OD deaths from the non-medical use of legal pharmaceuticals. Opioid-related deaths are especially tragic because they are largely preventable. A safe, cheap, easy to administer antidote exists - naloxone hydrochloride or Narcan. Naloxone restores respiration rates that have been depressed by the OD. It has no psychoactive properties and is not a controlled drug. Because of its effectiveness in reversing opioid ODs, the 2010 Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Prevention Plan call for an expansion in the number of PSPs who are equipped to recognize and respond to ODs with naloxone. The Plan has been endorsed by HHS, CDC, ONDCP, HHS/OASH, and SAMHSA. The U.S. Conference of Mayors also adopted a resolution in support of the plan at their June, 2011 Annual meeting. Section 32D of the Plan states: "The Administration will seek to expand the number of physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement professionals, and firefighters who are trained in how to recognize an overdose and who further know how to administer life-saving techniques and overdose reversal medications such as naloxone." This proposed curriculum will adapt and further develop a face-to-face course, Opioid Overdose Prevention for Public Safety and Law Enforcement, developed for Boston police officers into a computer-assisted instructional (CAI) format, accessible online, for all PSPs (Fire/EMTs as well as Police). This highly tailored, web-based curriculum will 1) address why PSPs need education and tools to reverse ODs, 2) teach how to respond effectively to an OD both with and without naloxone (for times when naloxone is not available), 3) address concerns and feelings raised by PSPs about learning these new skills, especially for police assuming this new role, and 4) link PSPs to additional information and resources. The 2-track design will enable us to tailor the curriculum to the needs of each group (Track 1: Police;Track 2: Fire/EMTs) to enhance relevance, acceptability and learning outcomes. The curriculum will be marketed aggressively for rapid, nationwide dissemination through numerous public health and safety channels due to its potential life-saving impact - the reduction of fatal ODs, nationwide.

Public Health Relevance

According to the CDC, in 2007, drug-induced deaths climbed to more than 38,000 with increases driven primarily by the non-medical use of legal pharmaceuticals. This project will adapt and further develop an overdose prevention education and skills training curriculum for presentation online for police, firefighters and EMTs in keeping with the ONDCP Prevention Plan for Public Safety Personnel. The knowledge gained will allow Public Safety Personnel to intervene effectively to reduce fatal opioid-associated overdoses and will permit wide dissemination.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HDM-K (10))
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Diana, Augusto
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Social Sciences Innovations Corporation
New York
United States
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Davis, Corey S; Southwell, Jessica K; Niehaus, Virginia Radford et al. (2014) Emergency medical services naloxone access: a national systematic legal review. Acad Emerg Med 21:1173-7