An exploratory study of a hands-on naloxone training for rural clinicians and staff
IntroductionSince the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in fentanyl-combined drugs has led to a surge in opioid overdose deaths in the United States. Higher opioid overdose mortality rates are problematic in rural communities, and there are few prevention, treatment, and recovery resources for individuals experiencing opioid use disorder. MethodThis exploratory project aimed to investigate a hands-on naloxone training for rural clinicians and staff. Rural clinicians and staff at two behavioral health centers were recruited to participate in a 30-min lecture and 30-min hands-on intranasal naloxone training using a low-fidelity mannequin. A pre-post opioid knowledge questionnaire, rubric based on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration toolkit, and investigator-generated survey were used to evaluate opioid knowledge and response, demonstration of intranasal naloxone administration, and participants' perceptions of the training. Enrollment characteristics were summarized using descriptive statistics and paired t-tests were used to assess mean differences. ResultsOf the nine participants in the project, seven (87.5%) were female and six (75.0%) were Black. Four participants assumed a therapist role, attained a MS or MA degree, and had 5 or more years of experience working in healthcare. The total mean rubric score for all participants was 96.0 (SD = 8.8). No significant pre-post mean differences among opioid knowledge, overdose risk, and overdose response categories were found, all p > 0.05. However, post-intervention mean scores were slightly higher in all categories except overdose risk. Most participants (77.8%) responded that they felt comfortable handling an opioid situation and teaching the training to community members. Open-ended responses indicated that participants liked the demonstrations, examples used, hands-on nature of the training, and the presentation materials. ConclusionA hands-on naloxone training is beneficial for training rural clinicians and staff to respond to opioid overdose. This training may be a promising solution to reduce response time between recognition of opioid symptoms and administration of the life-saving medication, naloxone. Future studies should examine the efficacy of this training in larger samples with the inclusion of rural interdisciplinary teams, trusted community leaders, and family and friends of those impacted by opioid use disorder. Clinical relevanceThis innovative hands-on naloxone training is designed for rural clinicians and residents who are most likely to witness individuals experiencing opioid toxicity. The primary goal is to reduce response time between recognition of signs and symptoms and administration of the life-saving medication, Naloxone.