Oct 302018

October 2017 – The Policy & Research Group (PRG) has been selected as the external evaluator for Odyssey House Louisiana’s (OHL) program to expand at-risk individuals’ access to FDA-approved drugs that can prevent opioid overdose. The program is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The project aims to leverage local partnerships to develop best practices for prescribing and co-prescribing FDA-approved overdose reversal drugs; train prescribers, providers, and community members in these best practices; and expand access to and utilization of naloxone, substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services for individuals who have experienced an opioid overdose or are at high risk for overdose. This program serves adult opioid users in the Greater New Orleans area who have experienced an overdose or are at high risk for overdose, family members and peers of opioid users, any other adult who wishes to obtain naloxone and receive education and training on how to safely administer it to individuals who are at risk of opioid overdose.

In collaboration with OHL, PRG will evaluate implementation objectives and anticipated client-level outcomes. PRG will provide OHL with regular implementation feedback that will allow OHL leaders to improve and optimize implementation of the program. PRG will also report annually on changes in client-level outcomes targeted by the program.

SAMHSA works to advance behavioral health in the United States by reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness. Through the Improving Access to Overdose Treatment program, SAMHSA’s aim is to fund opioid treatment programs, centers, and providers that prescribe buprenorphine to expand access to FDA-approved drugs or devices for emergency treatment of opioid overdoes. The overarching goal of this initiative is to develop best practices for prescribing and co-prescribing FDA-approved overdose reversal drugs and to train other prescribers in these practices. PRG is conducting a program implementation and outcome evaluation of the program, collecting data on program activities.

PRG is committed to the development of effective public policy through the production of rigorous research and evaluation. PRG works with federal, state, and local partners in the development and evaluation of programs that aim to improve social, behavioral, health, economic, and employment potential. Since 2004, PRG has developed expertise across an array of policy areas including education, public health, child welfare, work and income, housing, and adolescent risk reduction.