Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing




The number of opioid related overdose deaths has increased significantly over the past ten years. In order to combat this problem, many drug treatment programs have implemented Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution programs as a harm reduction technique. While these programs are fairly new, initial research demonstrated effective reduction in the number of opioid overdose related deaths. The risk of overdose deaths increases when an opioid addicted person is abstinent for a period of time and loses tolerance. Individuals who have been incarcerated, completed inpatient detoxification, or who have been admitted into an acute care setting face the risk of losing tolerance as a result of being opiate-free for a period of time. This decrease in tolerance significantly increases the risk of overdose when they resume using opioids. The purpose of this program was to develop and implement an educational program on the epidemic of opioid overdose and the safe administration of Naloxone by lay people. This program was aimed at Registered Nurses working on an inpatient medical/surgical telemetry unit within a small, academic medical center. A needs assessment was performed and a 20 minute educational program was offered during a scheduled staff meeting. Pre and post surveys based on knowledge content were collected and results were analyzed. Program evaluation was conducted in order to define the strengths and weaknesses of the developed program. Conclusions and implications for APRN practice were presented to the organization’s Nurse Practice Council as well as Rhode Island College.

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