These Kits Will Save Lives, But There Is Much More Work Ahead to Stem the Opiate Epidemic

July 7, 2017

Stemming the Opiate Epidemic team

Spending a few hours at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences to assemble kits may seem like a mundane activity. But when the kits contain the opiate-overdose-reversal drug Naloxone, the effort translates into many lives that will be saved as a result.

In June, the Bass Connections project team Stemming the Opiate Epidemic through Education and Outreach wrapped up their summer session with a Naloxone kit-building party in collaboration with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.

Stemming the Opiate Epidemic team

Andrew Muzyk (School of Medicine) and Nicole Schramm-Sapyta (Duke Institute for Brain Sciences) lead the team, along with Caroline Freiermuth and Alexander Limkakeng of the School of Medicine.

Student team members are Grace Feng ’19, Matthew Gayed ’20, Alex Gunn (Master of Biomedical Sciences), Katie Kanter ’18, Erica Onuoha ’18 and Madeline Thornton ’18.

Stemming the Opiate Epidemic team

Building on last year’s Bass Connections project, the 2017-2018 project team is working with the Duke Hospital Emergency Department to establish a program in which providers give Naloxone free of charge to at-risk patients. After implementing the program, the team will evaluate its uptake and examine patient-oriented outcomes.

Stemming the Opiate Epidemic team

During their six-week intensive summer program, students learned about principles driving the project, created an implementation and data collection plan for Naloxone distribution in the Emergency Department and developed educational materials.

Stemming the Opiate Epidemic team

Looking ahead, team members will also collaborate with Durham County’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Collaborative, a group of first responders who are trained to respond to citizens in mental health and/or substance use crises. This part of the project will build on work being done this summer by a Data+ summer research project called Mental Health Interventions by Durham Police. With guidance from Schramm-Sapyta and Bryce Bartlett, a doctoral student in Sociology, undergraduates Rachel Buchanan ’18, Jackson Dellinger ’19 and Amber Strange ’19 are working with 911 call data and de-identified incident reports from the Durham Police Department. They’ll share their results at Data+ poster session and reception on July 28 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the first floor of Gross Hall.

Learn More

  • Explore Bass Connections in Brain & Society.
  • Read about the Data+ 2017 Summer Research Program, sponsored by Bass Connections, the Information Initiative at Duke, the Social Science Research Institute, the departments of Mathematics and Statistical Science and MEDx.
  • Find out how to get involved in Bass Connections.

Photos by Nicole Schramm-Sapyta and Tyler Lee (1: Alex Gunn, Grace Feng, Matthew Gayed; 2: Jesse from NCHRC; 3: Gunn, Erica Onouha, Jesse, Miranda from NCHRC, Grace Feng, Gayed, Schramm-Sapyta; 4: Onouha; 5: Feng, Onouha, Gunn, Gayed)