This paper provides an overview of an opioid poisoning prevention pilot project conducted in several American Indian/Alaskan Native communities using an applied public health approach. The intent of the project was to identify a prescription medication safeguarding option for use in the home environment. The authors engaged the target population to obtain their buy-in to select an intervention that was acceptable and appropriate for their needs. Focus groups and key informant interviews conducted in several tribal communities resulted in the selection of a heavy-duty, lockable storage box as the intervention. Through community-based partnerships, 55 boxes were installed in participating households. Along with the box, participants also received education on safe medication storage and disposal. At baseline, only 1% of the participants reported storing their medication securely. During a 60-day follow-up visit, 95% of the observed boxes were being used to store medications. Also at baseline, 31% of the participants reported a history of lost or stolen medications. There were no reported lost or stolen medications during the 60-day project period among the participants. During the follow-up visits, project staff also found the boxes being used to store other items valuable to the participants. Reportedly, having their medication and other valuables secured in one location provided a heightened feeling of security. Since the completion of this pilot project, several organisations and entities have replicated it in their communities.
- behaviour change
- public health
- formative evaluation
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Collaborators Kenny Hicks, Holly Billie, Rebekah Abangan, George Chung, Daniel Dicks, Stephanie Bridges, Vincent Garcia, Zachary Hargis, Braden Hickey, Kathryn Pink, Rachael Stokes, Sarah Snyder, Patricia Wrona, and Monte Yazzie.
Contributors RM provided substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work; and drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content. He also provided final approval of the version to be published. AT and IA provided substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work; and drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content. MS provided contributions by revising the work critically for important intellectual content. All authors listed are in agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The project was approved by tribal leadership and the Phoenix Area IHS Internal Review Board.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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