Purdue University releases video series to help educate public servants about opioid abuse
The statistics are staggering: More than 70,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2017, and 68 percent of those deaths were due to an opioid. Estimates for 2018 show a modest reduction in overdose deaths nationally, but there are still places in the U.S. where overdose deaths are climbing. A decrease in overdose deaths cannot be seen as a victory, but rather as a sign that our efforts are in the right direction and need to continue with the same urgency.
There is still much stigma surrounding substance use and available treatment. Stigma around substance use is a major barrier to long-term recovery from substance-use disorders, and stigma can be overcome through education and knowledge.
Recently, Purdue University worked with members of our local opioid task force to develop Pathways to Recovery: Training Modules for Opioid Use Disorder. This series was created to meet the educational needs of front-line law enforcement officers and employees who work with people facing substance use every day. People who work in the legal and first-responder fields, as well other public-sector employees, can use these videos as a resource.
Many law enforcement organizations across the country have instituted crisis intervention training and mental health first-aid training to better equip front-line officers when they encounter people with mental illness. This series is another tool in providing training on substance use with an intense focus on opioids that goes well beyond standard Narcan training. It helps provide knowledge about the entire chronic disease process and treatment options.
Community leaders, law enforcement, recovery leaders and medical providers were consulted to develop the introduction and four modules. The modules have embedded quiz questions that test knowledge after every few minutes. In order to progress in the video, the questions must be answered. Viewers can see how they did on the questions at the end of each module.
The introduction and first three modules provide information that is applicable across the nation. The fourth module presents the local resources of the community in which the videos were created. There is also a community resource assessment guide that can help other communities determine their local assets.
This series will not end the epidemic of substance use overdose deaths; however, it does provide comprehensive information about substance use, primarily opioids, opioid use disorder and medication-assisted treatment as part of a comprehensive recovery plan. This knowledge is essential to reducing the stigma surrounding substance use and helping to reduce overdose deaths by facilitating treatment and long-term recovery.
Editor’s note: Purdue University is not and has never been affiliated in any way with Purdue Pharma. The pharmaceutical company was founded in Manhattan in 1892 by John Purdue Gray and George Frederick Bingham as the Purdue Frederick Company. Purdue University was founded in 1869 as Indiana’s land-grant institution, named for benefactor John Purdue.
Nicole Adams, Ph.D., R.N., CEN is a clinical assistant professor of nursing at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. She helped coordinate and produce the video series.