Naloxone acceptance by outpatient veterans: A risk-prioritized telephone outreach event

August 22, 2020



Opioid overdose is a major public health concern in the United States. Naloxone education and distribution can decrease the risk of overdose deaths. A previous study showed that a longitudinal, multi-attempt telephone intervention by a single pharmacy resident was effective for distributing naloxone to a high-risk veteran population.


The purpose of this project was to investigate whether a team-based, single-attempt telephone outreach event is effective for distributing naloxone to at-risk outpatient veterans.


The Risk Index for Overdose or Serious Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression (RIOSORD) tool was used to identify patients with risk class ≥4. Pharmacy trainees contacted 164 patients and offered naloxone. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with RIOSORD risk class ≥4 who had naloxone before versus after the intervention.


The proportion of patients with RIOSORD class ≥4 who had a naloxone kit before and after the event was 0.28 and 0.63, respectively (difference = 0.35, p < 1 × 10−6). Per-protocol analysis showed that of 164 patients contacted, 67% were reached (n = 109) and 80 patients accepted naloxone, corresponding to a 73% acceptance rate for those reached.


A team-based telephone outreach event is an effective method for distributing naloxone to at-risk outpatient veterans.

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