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Rural Health Information Hub


Substance use disorder (SUD) programs may provide or require specialized training of staff, partners, and others involved in program implementation. For example, rural communities participating in the Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal Grant Program (2016-2018) conducted trainings on how to use opioid overdose reversal kits to reduce opioid overdose mortality. This program trained responders and lay people. Programs may also train law enforcement personnel, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, other first responders, community members, family members, and people with SUD to administer naloxone. The trainings focus on all aspects of administering naloxone, including:

  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose
  • Administering the medication
  • Storing the medication
  • Administering basic cardiopulmonary life support, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and external defibrillation
  • Reporting results
  • Recognizing adverse side effects
  • Providing referrals, appropriate transport to a hospital or clinic, and follow-up for continued care

To ensure the trainings are sustainable, rural opioid reversal programs are also developing “train the trainer” educational models for partner organizations so they may train staff in the future.

Trainings may also focus on other topics. For example, cultural competency trainings can provide information about factors that affect SUD treatment results, including diversity among cultures, language barriers, and barriers to healthcare. Rural programs may train and provide technical assistance to healthcare providers in order to increase the prescription and dispensation of buprenorphine for Medication-Assisted Treatment.

Telehealth and other technologies have increased the range of available provider trainings. Organizations such as the Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions (IRETA) and the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC) offer a variety of online trainings in topics like screenings, interventions, and other treatments. For additional information about providing training providers through telehealth in rural communities, see the Rural Telehealth Toolkit.

Resources to Learn More

Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC)
Supports the implementation of evidence-based and promising services for addiction treatment and recovery by forming regional and national alliances among culturally diverse practitioners, researchers, and policy makers. Offers online training to increase the knowledge and skills of the workforce providing addiction treatment and recovery services.

Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Substance Abuse Treatment: A Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 50
Provides information and guidelines for substance abuse counselors, program administrators, and clinical supervisors working with adult patients who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting suicidal behaviors. Includes a case study of a rural patient.
Organization: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Date: 2017

Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions (IRETA)
Offers multiple web-based training opportunities for addiction counselors, social workers, mental health providers, and allied healthcare providers on substance use, addiction, and related topics.

Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS)
Compiles educational resources, training modules, online trainings, information on MAT waivers, and clinical resources for healthcare providers involved with opioid use disorder pharmacotherapy treatment.
Organization: Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS)

Report on Lessons Learned from Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal Grant Recipients
Describes findings from the Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal (ROOR) pilot program. Organizes lessons learned under three categories: building partnerships, providing effective outreach and training, and referral to treatment.
Organization(s): National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
Date: 4/2017