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Overdose Risk Reduction and Relapse Prevention for RSAT Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2021

This training manual for corrections personnel involved in the federal Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program provides comprehensive information on the nature of and response to the elevated risk of drug overdose deaths among justice-involved persons, particularly those re-entering the community from prison or jail.


The training is intended for RSAT program staff who work with at-risk incarcerated persons recovering from substance-use disorders. The focus is on overdose prevention and emergency responses in custody settings and during the high-risk period immediately following release from prison or jail. The information relates to overdose from opioids and other illicit and pharmaceutically produced drugs commonly involved in overdose deaths. One section of the manual presents an overview of the distinctive facts that increase the risk of an overdose fatality for justice-involved populations and how the most used drugs cause such deaths. Current national and regional threats of drug overdoses are identified. Another section of the manual provides overdose-response information that can be provided both inside corrections facilities and in the community. Also included are safety tips that minimize risks for staff and first responders, who are more likely to encounter drug overdose cases in their work. Examples are provided of overdose education and naloxone distribution programs provided by prisons and jails. Naloxone is a drug commonly administered when a drug overdose is suspected. The manual also discusses relapse and overdose prevention, as well as risk-reduction measures that can be integrated into corrections programming. Access information is provided on resources for clients and staff.

Date Published: May 18, 2021