About us

Issue and objectives

‘Drug Overdose Kills One European Per Hour’ (European Public Health Allicance, 2008) an alarming but reasonably accurate reflection of the most recently reported European figures of fatal drug overdoses. This simple headline however does not account for the complex nature of overdoses and the various comorbidities associated with both fatal and non-fatal overdoses. In reality, the risk factors and how they combine to influence the risk of fatal overdoses are not well understood. As a result, no validated and reliable overdose risk assessments exist. As such, the ORION project aims to address this need by developing an overdose risk assessment tool, which is to be used with substance users in a variety of clinical settings.

Individuals who overdose may, in some cases, receive health care for substance abuse; however, evidence is clear that the treatments themselves do not necessarily change the behaviours which put such persons at higher-risk of fatal overdose. ORION aims to utilise an e-health tool in an innovative approach to raise awareness of the factors which influence overdose risk in part of the European population identified as “high-risk.”
By developing and using a decision analysis model, it is possible to identify personalised risks of subsequent overdose and utilise a targeted approach to provide health care that improves awareness and understanding.

Expected results

The project is designed to achieve the following results:

  • Translate the current knowledge base of factors which influence overdose risk into a decision analysis model which can accurately calculate overall overdose risk for a given set of variables
  • Develop and disseminate a complete and easy-to-use software package which incorporates the decision analysis model into an e-health intervention that can provide feedback at an individual level
  • Demonstrate the capacity of the e-health model to increase individual awareness of risk factors which influence overall risk of overdose including knowledge of how to reduce personal risks identified
  • Determine if the e-health model can translate the increased awareness of risk factors into behavioural lifestyle changes to reduce the identified risks (self-efficacy)
  • Disseminate the project results to a targeted audience in order to test the tool in Scotland, Denmark, Germany, and Italy with quantifiable benefits for each of the implementing health systems