U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Witnessed Overdoses and Naloxone Use Among Visitors to Rikers Island Jails Trained in Overdose Rescue.

NCJ Number
Addictive Behaviors Volume: 86 Dated: 2018 Pages: 73-78
Zina Huxley-Reicher; Lara Maldjian; Emily Winkelstein; Anne Siegler; Denise Paone; Ellenie Tuazon; Michelle L. Nolan; Alison Jordan; Ross MacDonald; Hillary V. Kuning
Date Published
November 2018
6 pages
This study's objective was to determine rates of opioid overdose witnessing and naloxone use among overdose rescue-trained visitors to the New York City (NYC) jails on Rikers Island.
With the opioid overdose mortality rates rising nationally, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) has worked to expand overdose rescue training (ORT) and naloxone distribution. The current project conducted a 6-month prospective study of visitors to NYC jails on Rikers Island who received ORT. Baseline characteristics of study participants, characteristics of overdose events, and responses to witnessed overdose events were conducted, including whether the victim was the incarcerated individual the participant was visiting on the day of training. Bivariate analyses compared baseline characteristics of participants who witnessed overdoses to those who did not, and of participants who used naloxone to those who did not. Overall, the project enrolled 283 participants visiting NYC's Rikers Island jails into the study. Six months after enrollment, researchers reached 226 participants for follow-up by phone. Forty participants witnessed 70 overdose events, and 28 participants reported using naloxone. Of the 70 overdose events, three victims were the incarcerated individuals visited on the day of training; nine additional victims were recently released from jail and/or prison. Visitors to persons incarcerated at Rikers Island witness overdose events and can perform overdose rescues with naloxone. This intervention reaches a population that includes not only those recently released, but also other people who experienced overdose. (publisher abstract modified)