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intranasal naloxone, nursing student, opioid overdose, opioid overdose prevention, substance abuse



  1. Dion, Kimberly A. PhD, RN, CNE


Problem: Death by overdose has been steadily increasing since 1992 and has become a public health epidemic. With the rise of prescription pain medications for nonmedical use and the highest use of illicit substances by those ages 18-25, the need for action is imperative.


Purpose: The aim of the study was to determine whether an educational intervention had an effect on nursing students' knowledge and skills regarding administration of intranasal naloxone for opioid overdose.


Method: A convenience sample of baccalaureate nursing students was recruited for the study. A pretest/posttest design was used to evaluate the educational intervention. A paired t test was used to compare differences in pre- and posttest scores.


Results: A total of 49 students completed the study. The majority were women ages 25 and below, 31 (63.2%) had some or no background knowledge of opioid overdose, and 42 (85.7%) had not received previous training on intranasal naloxone. Student knowledge increased significantly (p < .001) following the educational intervention. Twenty-four students requested hands-on training for implementation of the intranasal naloxone and scored 100% accuracy in return demonstration.


Conclusions: Implementation of this brief training was effective for increasing the knowledge of opioid overdose for an at-risk population. The nursing student is in a unique position to educate, train, and intervene for peers, friends, and family members who are at high risk for an opiate overdose. Nursing students have a pronounced advantage to assess for respiratory depression and initiate CPR, thereby interrupting a fatal overdose.