Use of online opioid overdose prevention training for first-year medical students: A comparative analysis of online versus in-person training

Noah Berland, Daniel Lugassy, Aaron Fox, Keith Goldfeld, So Young Oh, Babak Tofighi, Kathleen Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: In response to the opioid epidemic and efforts to expand substance use education in medical school, the authors introduced opioid overdose prevention training (OOPT) with naloxone for all first-year medical students (MS1s) as an adjunct to required basic life support training (BLST). The authors previously demonstrated improved knowledge and preparedness following in-person OOPT with BLST; however, it remains unclear whether online-administered OOPT would produce comparable results. In this study, the authors perform a retrospective comparison of online-administered OOPT with in-person-administered OOPT. Objectives: To compare the educational outcomes: knowledge, preparedness, and attitudes, for online versus in-person OOPT. Methods: In-person OOPT was administered in 2014 and 2015 during BLST, whereas online OOPT was administered in 2016 during BLST pre-work. MS1s completed pre- and post-training tests covering 3 measures: knowledge (11-point scale), attitudes (66-point scale), and preparedness (60-point scale) to respond to an opioid overdose. Online scores from 2016 and in-person scores from 2015 were compared across all 3 measures using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) methods. Results: After controlling for pre-test scores, there were statistical, but no meaningful, differences across all measures for in-person- and online-administered training. The estimated differences were knowledge: −0.05 (0.5%) points (95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.47, 0.36); attitudes: 0.65 (1.0%) points (95% CI: −0.22, 1.51); and preparedness: 2.16 (3.6%) points (95% CI: 1.04, 3.28). Conclusions: The educational outcomes of online-administered OOPT compared with in-person-administered OOPT were not meaningfully different. These results support the use of online-administered OOPT. As our study was retrospective, based on data collected over multiple years, further investigation is needed in a randomized controlled setting, to better understand the educational differences of in-person and online training. Further expanding OOPT to populations beyond medical students would further improve generalizability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Medical education
  • naloxone
  • opioids
  • overdose
  • substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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