Randomized controlled trial of a computerized opioid overdose education intervention

Kelly E. Dunn, Claudia Yepez-Laubach, Paul A. Nuzzo, Michael Fingerhood, Anne Kelly, Suzan Berman, George E. Bigelow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background Opioid overdose (OD) has become a significant public health problem in need of effective interventions. The majority of existing educational interventions target provision of naloxone and are conducted in-person; these elements present logistical barriers that may limit wide-spread implementation. This study developed and evaluated an easily disseminated opioid OD educational intervention and compared computerized versus pamphlet delivery Methods Participants (N = 76) undergoing opioid detoxification were randomly assigned to receive OD education via a Pamphlet (N = 25), Computer (N = 24), or Computer + Mastery (N = 27) with identical content for all delivery modalities. Primary outcomes were changes from pre- to post-intervention in knowledge of opioid effects, opioid OD symptoms, and recommended opioid OD responses, as well as intervention acceptability. Also assessed at 1 and 3-month follow-ups were retention of knowledge and change in reported OD risk behaviors. Results Knowledge increased following all three intervention-delivery modalities with few between-group differences observed in knowledge gain or acceptability ratings. Largest gains were in the domain of opioid OD response (from 41.8% to 73.8% mean correct responses; p < 0.001). Knowledge was well sustained at the 1 and 3-month follow-ups among completers, where a significant reduction was seen in the critical behavioral risk factor of using opioids while alone. Conclusion Opioid overdose education delivered by computer or written pamphlet produced sustained increases in knowledge and reduction in a key behavioral risk factor. Results Results support further evaluation of this educational intervention that can be used alone or to complement naloxone-training programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S39-S47
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Naloxone
  • Opioid
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Overdose
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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