Overdose training for friends and family members of heroin users: The validation process of two new measures to evaluate knowledge and attitudes towards managing an overdose

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

An effective way of preventing a fatal overdose is training potential witnesses on how to manage an opiate intoxication. Overdose training among drug users has already proved to be a successful method of saving many lives. Friends and Family member are also likely to witness overdoses and could benefit from training.  We are currently conducting a comprehensive study which aims to investigate the benefits of extending overdose training to this population. The first phase of the study aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties of two new instruments to assess knowledge and attitudes on overdose management. Face and content validity have been evaluated by consulting professionals in the addiction filed and conducting in depth interviews with friends and family members of heroin users. To examine construct validity, the scales were administered to 42 family members and 56 professionals. Additionally, two valid instruments which measure aspects of knowledge and attitudes have been administered and comparisons were made between these and the new measures. To test the stability of the instruments over time, participants were asked to repeat the questionnaires a week later. Content validity analyses produced three domains for the attitudes scale (competence, concerns and readiness) and four domains for the knowledge scale (risks, signs, actions and naloxone). The scale also proved to be reliable internally and over time. The valid instruments are now going to be used in the second stage of the project: a trial to evaluate the efficacy of overdose training for this population.

Key-words: Family members, overdose, heroin, training, reliability and validity

Conflict of Interest: None


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Dr Anna Williams