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This article is the author’s final published version in BMC Public Health, Volume 22, Issue 1, May 2022, Article number 886.

The published version is available at Copyright © Hohmann et al.


Background: Deep South states, particularly Alabama, experience disproportionately higher opioid prescribing rates versus national rates. Considering limited opioid use disorder (OUD) providers in this region, collaborative efforts between non-healthcare professionals is critical in mitigating overdose mortality. The Alabama Opioid Training Institute (OTI) was created in 2019 to empower community members to take action in combatting OUD in local regions. The OTI included: 1) eight full-day in-person conferences; and 2) an interactive mobile-enabled website ( ). This study assessed the impact of the OTI on influential community members' knowledge, abilities, concerns, readiness, and intended actions regarding OUD and opioid overdose mitigation.

Methods: A one-group prospective cohort design was utilized. Alabama community leaders were purposively recruited via email, billboards, television, and social media advertisements. Outcome measures were assessed via online survey at baseline and post-conference, including: OUD knowledge (percent correct); abilities, concerns, and readiness regarding overdose management (7-point Likert-type scale, 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree); and actions/intended actions over the past/next 6 months (8-item index from 0 to 100% of the time). Conference satisfaction was also assessed. Changes were analyzed using McNemar or Marginal Homogeneity tests for categorical variables and two-sided paired t-tests for continuous variables (alpha = 0.05).

Results: Overall, 413 influential community members participated, most of whom were social workers (25.7%), female (86.4%), and White (65.7%). Community members' OUD knowledge increased from mean [SD] 71.00% [13.32] pre-conference to 83.75% [9.91] post-conference (p < 0.001). Compared to pre-conference, mean [SD] ability scale scores increased (3.72 [1.55] to 5.15 [1.11], p < 0.001) and concerns decreased (3.19 [1.30] to 2.64 [1.17], p < 0.001) post-conference. Readiness was unchanged post-conference. Attendees' intended OUD-mitigating actions in the next 6 months exceeded their self-reported actions in the past 6 months, and 92% recommended the OTI to others.

Conclusions: The Alabama OTI improved community leaders' knowledge, abilities, and concerns regarding OUD management. Similar programs combining live education and interactive web-based platforms can be replicated in other states.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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