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First Responder Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention Training: A Review of the Literature

Belz, Carly (2022) First Responder Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention Training: A Review of the Literature. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Absence of working knowledge of naloxone administration and stigma surrounding opioid use in first responders often amounts to a lack of knowledge, skill, and confidence to successfully intervene in the event of an overdose emergency. Spreading awareness, availability, and working knowledge of naloxone though overdose reduction training is a key element of the public health response to the ongoing opioid epidemic. Given the increasing number of opioid-related overdoses in the United States, adequately training first responders in responding to an overdose event and administering naloxone is important. The aim of this literature review was to examine the effectiveness of first responder harm reduction and overdose prevention training in terms of knowledge, confidence, and attitude outcomes. Fourteen out of sixteen of the included articles demonstrated that training first responders in overdose prevention techniques and naloxone administration resulted in an increase of knowledge, confidence, and attitude outcomes. Four out of the sixteen included articles saw an increase in naloxone administration in the field and a reduction in opioid overdose-related deaths following first responder training. In the articles that only reported on pre- and post-training tests and assessments, it is unclear if these trainings helped reduce overdose deaths, but post-training assessments show that these trainings increased awareness of opioid-related overdoses, number of first responders trained, and number of first responders carrying naloxone with the skill set to use it effectively. Although more research will need to be conducted as different overdose prevention trainings are developed and implemented, this suggests that providing harm reduction and overdose prevention training to first responders is an effective technique in reducing the number of fatal opioid-related overdoses. This literature review is significant in terms of public health as prescription and illicit opioids continue to be misused. Increasing the amount of first responders who are equipped with naloxone, as well as the skill set to properly administer it, is essential to combat this major public health issue of reducing the number of opioid overdoses and opioid overdose-related deaths.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Belz, Carlycmb272@pitt.educmb272
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGlynn, Nancy W.epidnwg@pitt.eduepidnwgUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberCohen, Jacquelinejac416@pitt.edujac416UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberPringle, Janicejlpringle@pitt.edujlpringleUNSPECIFIED
Date: 16 May 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 26 April 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 53
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: naloxone, opioid overdose
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 19:25
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 19:25


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