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Next-of-Kin Interviews: A Practitioner’s Guide to Implementation

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2022
71 pages

After defining an “overdose fatality review,” (OFR) this toolkit provides instruction in the purpose of and how to conduct a “next-of-kin interview.”


This toolkit for the next-of-kin (NOK) interview is a companion document with the “Overdose Fatality Review: A Practitioner’s Guide to Implementation.” The purpose of an OFR is to identify system gaps and plan innovative community-specific drug overdose prevention and intervention strategies. An effective OFR involves a series of confidential, individual reviews of each drug overdose death by a multidisciplinary team. Such reviews examine an overdose decedent’s drug-use history, co-morbidity, major health events, social-emotional trauma, encounters with the criminal justice system, treatment history, and other factors related to drug use linked to the overdose death. The OFR is an effort to determine what might have been done to help the decedent avoid the drug abuse that led to the overdose death. This procedure guides planning for preventing and treating substance-use disorders that can lead to overdose deaths. A NOK interview is a means an OFR can use to expand its understanding of the life experiences of a decedent and identify critical points that can guide a community’s plans for interventions that might prevent overdose deaths. This toolkit for NOK interviews contains seven modules that address the reasons for the interview, who should conduct it, when to contact the family member for the interview, how to conduct the interview, where to store data from the interview, and self-care for NOK interviewers.  


Date Published: March 1, 2022