Technology-Assisted Opioid Education for Out-of-Treatment Adults With Opioid Use Disorder


Toegel F, Novak MD, Rodewald AM, Leoutsakos JM, Silverman K & Holtyn AF. (2022). Technology-assisted opioid education for out-of-treatment adults with opioid use disorder. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 36(5), 555–564.

This pre-post study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a technology-assisted education program for adults at higher risk of opioid overdose. The education program was self-paced and included three courses: 1) introduction to opioids, 2) preventing, detecting, and responding to an opioid overdose, and 3) opioid use disorder medications. Each course presented information and then prompted the user to complete a multiple-choice quiz to assess mastery of course material; incorrect answers produced feedback and participants were required to answer the question again to be able to advance to the next course. Forty adult participants with opioid use disorder who were not currently in treatment and who were living in Baltimore, Maryland were referred from community agencies and enrolled in the study. The education program took on average 91 minutes to complete and most participants completed the program in a single day. The mean score for the baseline test was 85% accuracy, indicating that participants already had prior knowledge of opioids, opioid overdoses, and medications. After completion of the program, participants showed significant improvement in test scores across all three courses (increase of 9.1%, 5.8%, and 10.1% respectively; p<.001); this was independent of education, employment, and poverty status. Participants with less than 12 years of education had significantly lower scores than those with 12 or more years of education. The computerized opioid education program demonstrated preliminary feasibility and efficacy in an uncontrolled trial among at-risk adults. Mobile technology allows for the potential to disseminate widely.