When you hear the startling statistics of addiction overdoses, you feel helpless letting these overdoses continue. According to Psychiatry associate professor and researcher Kelly Dunn, much of the prevention efforts have been on people who use opioids illegally and not on people who use opioids for pain. Dunn and her team decided to come up with a low-cost strategy to prevent people from getting to the point of overdoses.

What Have Dunn and Her Colleagues Done Towards Preventing Overdoses?

Dunn and her colleagues created an intervention from preventing overdoses from happening. They developed online, self-paced tutorials about opioids, risk factors and symptoms of overdose, and what to do when someone overdoses. This strategy can teach others about the horrors of overdoses and could possibly bring about caution to those who are prescribed opioids. This intervention presents information such as mixing opioids with alcohol or taking them alone. This information can also be useful for those who take opioids illegally. The information is straightforward with just 33 slides with a few words and can help clear up any myths like saying injecting someone with saltwater can stop an overdose. 

What Does the Preventative Medicine Study Say About Web-Based Interventions?

Dunn and her colleagues conducted a study in the “Preventative Medicine” journal on the effects of web-based interventions on three groups- people prescribed opioids for acute pain, patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain, and people without pain who take opioids illegally. The intervention turned out to be effective for all three groups. All three groups learned a lot more about opioids through this intervention and the acute pain group had the least opioid knowledge before the intervention. 

What Are the Two Formats for the Intervention?

Two formats of the intervention presented methods that made it easier to get through to the participants. There was a mastery style with periodic quizzes that require correct answers to continue and a presentation style that has no quizzes. The mastery style caused more participants to drop out with no advantage to improved knowledge. The presentation style is quick, user-friendly, well-accepted, and recommended by participants. The study showed that this intervention is useful for people managing low pain, high pain, and people taking drugs illegally. By learning about the dangerous risks of opioids and continuing your pain medication safely, you will be too scared to abuse your pain medication and have a healthy life going forward. 

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