Lynn University of Boca Raton, Florida, provides on-going comprehensive evaluation for the NOPE prevention programs. Consistent positive findings show that the NOPE presentations given in each of the participant groups have had significant impact on the knowledge and attitudes of those exposed to the NOPE programs. The NOPE messages have each been found to have been heard and understood by the participants. The attitudes around these messages have been tested through survey responses and the results have shown a change in attitude based on knowledge of these messages.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Overdose Suppression Project
The overall plan involves three separate but related components:
- The Law Enforcement Component encourages law enforcement investigators to apply all relevant criminal statutes to individuals found criminally liable for any aspect of another’s overdose death. In this effort, we have broadened the list of crimes that police consider in these cases to include everything from delivery of controlled substances, to evidence tampering, to improper disturbance of human remains. In addition, law enforcement will be scouring the facts of these overdose cases for any potential narcotics related intelligence. The information obtained will be relayed to specifically assigned narcotics agents who will open proactive investigations into the suspects’ potential future crimes.
- The Quantitative Research Component helps explain the phenomenon of overdose death from a scientific perspective. The idea is to conduct systematic research designed to expose any situational or demographic patterns that may exist among drug overdose deaths. Such patterns lay a foundation for future public awareness campaigns, intervention efforts or preventive legislative actions. In this endeavor, we meet with victim’s family members or close friends from each and every overdose fatality. In those meetings, we inquire about many different variables, everything from the victim’s level of education to his or her drug habits. We recognize that before we can positively impact an issue as complex as drug overdose, we must first thoroughly understand the phenomenon.
- The Public Relations/Education Component strives to raise consciousness of overdose issues. Community indifference to these tragedies will only change when citizens sincerely accept the notion that the next heartbreak could be their own. Such recognition promotes increased risk awareness as well as cooperative prevention efforts. This multifaceted dimension of the project includes a number of established strategic community alliances.
Partnering with NOPE - Within this component we are:
- Forging relationships with families who have lost loved ones to drug overdose death
- Offering monthly support group meetings for family members seeking comfort
- Designing a multimedia campaign to increase public awareness about the risks associated with prescription drug misuse and abuse
- Seeking legislative changes intended to close loopholes that encourage doctor shopping and other forms of prescription drug diversion
Drug Overdoses: Hospital Information Gathering Project
To date, there has been a distinct lack of research about the frequency and circumstances surrounding non-fatal drug overdose incidents occurring in our community. Anecdotal reports suggest that non-fatal drug overdoses are a frequent occurrence; however no definitive local data/study has been uncovered. The most practical and inclusive point to gather information about these events is at Palm Beach County’s 15 hospital emergency rooms. With this in mind, the Palm Beach County Overdose Suppression Team and NOPE Task Force designed a data gathering instrument.
There are three purposes for this inquiry:
- Measure how many non-fatal drug overdose cases are brought to Palm Beach County hospital emergency rooms each year.
- Determine the level of substance abuse intervention services offered or applied by hospital personnel in such cases.
- Gauge the typical next of kin notification process followed in non-fatal drug overdose cases.
As you can see from the attached data gathering instrument, we have no interest in identifying or contacting individual hospitalized patients. All findings would be reported in aggregate form. No individual hospitals, employees or patients would be identified.
If the purposes of this research are met, the findings of the study will bridge gaps in our awareness about non-fatal drug overdoses and likely help provide direction to PBSO’s and NOPE’s future overdose prevention work.