April 2019


Hello Pracademics!

Director's NoteThe Opioid Crisis

We are devoting this issue to the topic of opioid use. The U.S. is in the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic—unprecedented numbers of people are using (and dying from) opioids. Because we expect that many of our partner agencies will want to respond to this problem with innovative programs and practices, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Walter Ling, a world-renowned authority on substance-use disorders, has joined our team. Dr. Ling will provide his expertise on opioids as we partner with pracademics to develop and test opioid-related responses. This month’s newsletter includes an interview with Dr. Ling, as well as a snapshot of a BetaGov pilot that addresses training on naloxone overdose-reversal kits. Please contact us if your agency would like to explore strategies to reduce opioid-use disorder and related harms in your community.
Warm regards,
Angela Hawken
Hot off the Press: Naloxone Kits for Probation and Parole Officers
The Idaho Department of Correction Probation and Parole District 4 wondered if providing training on opioids and distributing naloxone overdose-reversal kits would increase officer confidence in dealing with potential opioid-overdose situations and perceptions of personal safety. After randomly assigning staff to either receiving training and naloxone kits or to a control group that did not, surveys were administered to all staff. This small pilot test demonstrated that the training program achieved its goals. The staff who were randomly assigned to receive the training reported being less stressed during routine pat searches and felt less need for additional training compared with staff who did not receive the training.
Learning Corner: The Latest Literature
Many state and federal agencies are investing in research on responding to opioid use disorders (OUD). Thanks to these efforts we will soon know much more about the sorts of strategies that work well and for whom. This month at the American Society of Addiction Medicine conference in Orlando, the three principal investigators on the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Studies of Medications for Addiction Treatment in Correctional Settings (SOMATICS) shared preliminary findings of their randomized controlled trials. We look forward to sharing summaries of this new work with our partners and to flagging other studies as they are released. If your work touches on OUD and you haven’t already seen it, we encourage you to review a new report on medication-assisted treatment from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Stay tuned for more research updates!  
News and Updates
We are pleased to announce that we will be working with eight agencies across the U.S. that have received funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to address the opioid epidemic in their communities. Our role, as the action-research partner, will allow us to contribute to each agency’s efforts in exploring strategies for reducing opioid use and related problems through the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program (COAP). As part of this endeavor, we are launching a website with information, statistics, publications, resources, and links for these eight sites and the general public. We will use this website to rapidly share what we are learning from our collaborating sites. More information on this in the coming months!
Partner Spotlight: Dr. Walter Ling
Dr. Walter Ling shares his perspectives on the current opioid epidemic and substance-use disorder.
Have an inspired pracademic day!
BetaGov  |  The Marron Institute of Urban Management   |  New York University  
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