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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution


This guide describes the knowledge and core competencies necessary for potential overdose responders trained as part of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health opioid overdose prevention pilot program to respond to an opioid overdose event. Potential overdose responders are other opioid users, parents, relatives, and friends of opioid users; first responders such as police and fire departments; and staff of agencies that serve high-risk individuals. The guide provides information on recognition of and response to an opioid overdose and is accompanied by important contextual information. This document includes links and videos that provide support for prevention and response strategies. 

This guide includes the following sections:
  • Introduction: the need and response
  • What are opioids?
  • What is an opioid overdose?
  • How to recognize an opioid overdose 
  • How to respond to an opioid overdose
  • Overdose risk factors and prevention


Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Funding Sources

Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Bureau of Substance Abuse Services and Bureau of Infectious Disease; Office of HIV AIDS Bureau of Infectious Disease

QualityTool Topic



  • Release Date: 2012
  • Original Summary: 08/2013
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Last updated: March 12, 2014.