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Opioid Overdose Prevention Outreach Program

  • Need: To reduce opioid use disorder and overdose deaths in Maryland's Eastern Shore counties.
  • Intervention: An outreach program educates healthcare providers, EMS staff, and laypeople on the risks of opioids, prevention and treatment options, and Narcan training.
  • Results: Program coordinators have presented information to 988 people in Maryland's Eastern Shore counties and certified 609 people in Narcan training.


According to 2017 CDC data, Maryland had an age-adjusted rate of 36.3 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people. Like other parts of the country, this state struggles to provide substance use disorder treatment, due to a shortage of behavioral health providers. For example, the Caroline County Health Department is the only addiction and mental health provider in that county.

The Opioid Overdose Prevention Outreach Program works to decrease opioid use disorder and overdoses through educating healthcare providers, EMS staff, and laypeople. The program reaches the following counties:

  • Caroline (rural)
  • Cecil
  • Dorchester (rural)
  • Kent (rural)
  • Queen Anne's
  • Somerset
  • Talbot (rural)
  • Wicomico
  • Worcester (rural)

The Opioid Overdose Prevention Outreach Program works with the Local Drug & Alcohol Abuse Council (LDAAC) and is funded by a Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) grant, which helped Caroline County hire a part-time Opioid Overdose Prevention Liaison.

Services offered

The program reaches:

  • Providers in healthcare and school settings
  • EMS staff
  • Patients and other laypeople
  • Maryland Department of Transportation
  • Employers with public bathrooms

Through a toolkit available in English and Spanish, the program educates participants on:

  • Risks of opioid use
  • Prevention of opioid use disorder
  • Treatment options
  • Narcan training to reverse overdoses


In phase one, program coordinators have presented information to 408 people in Maryland's Eastern Shore counties and certified 320 people in Narcan training. The Opioid Prevention Presentation and Narcan Training Survey revealed the following results from 59 participants:

  • 88% were satisfied with the presentation
  • 90% reported that the information presented was easy to understand
  • 93.1% said that the presenter effectively answered their questions

In phase two, there were 580 attendees, and 289 people received Narcan training.

As of May 2019, the Caroline County Health Department helped people dispose of 746 bags of unused prescription drugs.


There are few inpatient treatment facilities for people fighting opioid use disorder (OUD). Program coordinators are communicating with local private facilities to guarantee a percentage of their beds to patients with scholarships (provided by a facility or foundation to lower the cost of treatment for patients).

It's difficult to recruit skilled and credentialed medical staff educated in mental health and addiction to rural areas. CCHD is actively seeking additional funding to provide more attractive benefits to potential recruits as well as materials to inform the public about available resources and treatment options.

When program coordinators gave 30-minute educational presentations, participants said that sessions should be longer to adequately cover the information. The larger the group, the more time needed.

Contact Information

Caroline County Health Department

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
Health workforce
Illicit drug use
Prescription drug misuse

States served

Date added
August 13, 2018

Date updated or reviewed
August 5, 2019

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2019. Opioid Overdose Prevention Outreach Program [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: [Accessed 27 October 2021]

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.