What does the education and training element of a law enforcement overdose reversal program typically cover?

Law enforcement overdose response program trainings typically last from 40 to 90 minutes. At the very least, such training includes three basic elements: 1) information on how to recognize signs of an opioid overdose, 2) information on how to provide basic life support and proper administration of naloxone, and 3) an applied component providing trainees an opportunity to practice their skills. Trainings also typically include time for the completion of requisite documentation to authorize naloxone possession and administration by law enforcement officers.

Most trainings also cover some combination of the following content:

  • Drug abuse basics, including the chronic nature of addiction
  • Mechanisms by which opioids can cause overdoses and the reversal properties of naloxone
  • Occupational safety considerations
  • Legal considerations, including naloxone authorization and applicable Good Samaritan laws or policy provisions covering overdose victims and bystanders
  • Standard operating procedures for the administration of naloxone
  • Overdose education and naloxone distribution programs available to community members
  • Substance abuse treatment resources available in the jurisdiction

Programs that meet best practices cover information and skills that equip officers to engage in prevention and treatment program referral. The particular mix of training content and delivery channels depends on local needs and circumstances. Employees who hold existing medical response certifications such as CPR or basic life support may require an abridged training.

There are a number of existing resources to help agencies design their own law enforcement overdose response training. Sample training curriculum can be found below.


High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Training

Indianapolis (IN) Metropolitan Police Department Training Presentation

New York City Train the Trainer

Norfolk County (MA) Naloxone Training

Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officer Toolkit