Rising rates of overdose mortality underscore the importance of understanding and preventing overdose. We developed a seven-item scale for the assessment of nonfatal opioid-related overdose experiences, adding items on others’ perceptions of whether the participant had overdosed and whether an intervention was attempted to frequently used criteria. We administered the scale to 240 primarily male and minority veterans, recruited using venue-based and chain-referral sampling, who separated from the military post-9/11 and reported current opioid use. The items were internally consistent, and correlated well with overdose risk behaviors (r = .13-.45). The new scale detected overdose events in a significantly higher proportion of participants (36.5%) than that using either self-report criterion (18.2%) or difficulty breathing and losing consciousness criteria (23.8%). These experiences or perceptions should be investigated to inform and better tailor the development of more effective overdose prevention and response programs.
Recent overdose experiences in a community sample of military veterans who use opioids