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Impact of training for healthcare professionals on how to manage an opioid overdose with naloxone: Effective, but dissemination is challenging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9 - 15
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number1
PublishedJan 2011

King's Authors


Background: Opioid overdose has a high mortality, but is often reversible with appropriate overdose management and naloxone (opioid antagonist). Training in these skills has been successfully trialled internationally with opioid users themselves. Healthcare professionals working in substance misuse are in a prime position to deliver overdose prevention training to drug users and may themselves witness opioid overdoses. The best method of training dissemination has not been identified. The study assessed post-training change in clinician knowledge for managing an opioid overdose and administering naloxone, evaluated the 'cascade method' for disseminating training, and identified barriers to implementation. Methods: A repeated-measures design evaluated knowledge pre-and-post training. A sub-set of clinicians were interviewed to identify barriers to implementation. Clinicians from addiction services across England received training. Participants self-completed a structured questionnaire recording overdose knowledge, confidence and barriers to implementation. Results: One hundred clinicians were trained initially, who trained a further 119 clinicians (n=219) and thereafter trained 239 drug users. The mean composite score for opioid overdose risk signs and actions to be taken was 18.3/26 (+/- 3.8) which increased to 21.2/26 (+/- 4.1) after training, demonstrating a significant improvement in knowledge (Z=9.2, p

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