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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: Experiencing a Fentanyl Related Overdose Associated with Knowledge of Harm Reduction Strategies

Researchers at the Brown University School of Public Health have just published a study detailing how young people with a history of using drugs engage in harm reduction practices. The research was lead by Ms.  Jacqueline Goldman, a recent graduate of the Masters of epidemiology program at Brown and was supervised by associate professor of epidemiology, Dr. Brandon Marshall.

Between May and October 2017, 93 young people who reported using drugs in the last 30 days were recruited for the study. Participants were recruited through a variety of means, including Craigslist ads, ads on Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses, as well as canvassing in public areas. Participants were then interviewed using a structured survey that asked a variety of questions pertaining to past drug use, engagement in harm reduction practices, past exposure to fentanyl, history of overdose, as well as demographic questions.

Out of the participants, 18 reported having experienced a fentanyl related overdose in the past. 16 participants reported having a non-fentanyl related overdose. The authors found that experiencing a fentanyl related overdose was associated with knowing where to get naloxone as well knowing to keep naloxone nearby. Experiencing a fentanyl related overdose was also associated with seeing another person overdose, as well as recognizing the signs of an overdose and administering naloxone to someone who is overdosing.

The authors suggest that involving young people who have previously overdosed on fentanyl in the development of harm reduction educational materials could help motivate others to take up those practices.

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