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Police Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs About Opioid Addiction Treatment and Harm Reduction: A Survey of Illinois Officers

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume:   Online Dated: NOV 2023
Date Published
November 2023
21 pages

In this study, researchers surveyed Illinois police officers about their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about opioid addiction.


This study found a high proportion of police officers lacked knowledge of addiction, treatment, and harm reduction. These findings suggest the need for police training to improve understanding of addiction. Community collaboration and coordination of resources may give officers the tools to better address opioid use disorder (OUD), reduce harm, and decrease overdose. Police officers encounter individuals with OUD during their routine work and are often called to the scene of overdoses. Despite this frequency, officer knowledge and attitudes about addiction, treatment, and harm reduction vary. Views held by officers, and the extent of their knowledge, can impact the decisions they make regarding people with OUD, yet understanding of these factors is limited. Using stratified random sampling, researchers surveyed 248 officers from 27 Illinois police departments on their knowledge of addiction and the means to address it. Researchers performed descriptive and regression analyses to examine differences based on officer characteristics. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: November 1, 2023