Trauma-Informed Overdose Data to Action

Summary: This project helps agencies in New Jersey integrate trauma-informed care and data-driven strategies into the culture and service delivery of services related to substance use disorder.

Opportunity: Research shows 96.5 percent of individuals with substance use disorders have experienced childhood trauma and often use substances as self-medication to manage trauma symptoms. In 2018, approximately eight individuals per day died of a drug overdose in New Jersey. In addition, there is a high risk of primary and secondary trauma for providers working with individuals at risk of overdose and/or impacted by trauma. The New Jersey Department of Health supports the integration of trauma-informed care into service agencies to help heal unaddressed trauma, prevent secondary trauma, and reduce overdose rates.

Initiative: CAI’s Trauma Informed Overdose Data to Action Project is a data-driven, cross-sector initiative working to address the overdose epidemic at the community level. The project aims to strengthen prevention and treatment services for individuals at risk of overdose by supporting the integration of trauma-informed care into agency culture and through the use of trauma-informed approaches in work with clients. We provide trainings and technical assistance for key stakeholders, including harm reduction centers, emergency medical services, community health workers, overdose fatality review teams (OFRT), and other groups actively working with populations at risk for overdose.

Impact: This project ultimately seeks to decrease overdose rates in New Jersey through a cultural shift that supports a community-based trauma-informed healing ecosystem. The project builds the capacity of agencies’ staff to understand and address the impact of trauma, both primary and vicarious, in clients and staff. CAI has provided training to over 1,250 harm reduction center staff, emergency medical services personnel, and community health workers across New Jersey. Participants report an increase of 15 percent-29 percent in their knowledge related to trauma-informed care and confidence to integrate it into their daily practice.

Project funder: The New Jersey Department of Health and Hyacinth Foundation

Project contact: Beth Hurley: