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Substance use disorder treatment programs and services may require specialized trainings in order to be effectively implemented. For example, rural communities participating in the Rural Opioid Reversal Grant Program (2016-2018) trained people to use opioid overdose reversal kits to reduce mortality from opioid overdose. Rural programs train and provide technical assistance to healthcare providers in order to increase the prescription and dispensation of naloxone for those at high risk. Programs also train law enforcement personnel, EMS, first responders, community members, family members, and users to administer naloxone. The trainings focus on all aspects of administering naloxone, including:

  • Symptomology and recognizing the signs of opioid overdose
  • Administering the medication
  • Storing the medication
  • Administering basic cardiopulmonary life support
  • 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 modules for partner organizations so that they may train staff in the future.

Trainings may focus on other topics as well, such as cultural competency. Rural substance use disorder treatment and prevention programs have conducted cultural competency trainings for providers. While the topics of the trainings vary, they include diversity among cultures, language barriers, and barriers to healthcare.

With the advent of telehealth and other technologies, the opportunities for provider training are extensive. Organizations such as the Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions (IRETA) and the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC) offer a wide variety of trainings online in topics like screenings, interventions, and other treatments.

Resources to Learn More

Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC)
The ATTC website provides online trainings designed to increase implementation of evidence-based and promising services for addiction treatment.

Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Substance Abuse Treatment: A Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 50
These guidelines, written for substance abuse counselors, program administrators, and clinical supervisors, provide information and education to practices working with adult clients who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting suicidal behaviors. It includes a discussion and case study of a rural patient.
Organization: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions (IRETA)
The Online Training section of IRETA's website offers multiple web-based training opportunities on substance use, addiction, and related topics.

Providers' Clinical Support System (PCSS)
PCSS offers online trainings for healthcare providers offering opioid treatment including training modules, a mentor program, and webinars. PCSS also offers online trainings on medication-assisted treatment.
Organization: PCSS

Report on Lessons Learned from Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal Grant Recipients
The report describes findings from the pilot of the Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal program, including training and outreach resources that were useful to the grant recipients. Lessons learned are organized 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