Trauma-Informed Overdose Data to Action (TI OD2A)

TI OD2A 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.

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 project is funded by the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of HIV, STD, and TB Services.

Project contact: Beth Hurley: 

E-Learning Series: Best Practices in Overdose Prevention

This webinar series features practitioners and experts in the field talking about how to reduce the prevalence of overdose and increase the efficacy of services your organization provides to people who have experienced trauma.


Key Tenets of Harm Reduction

Jenna Mellor, executive director of the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition, offers an introduction to the history, practices, and principles of harm reduction.


The Role of Trauma Informed Care, Harm Reduction, and Medication-Assisted Treatment

Dr. Clement Chen, a clinical pharmacist/academic detailer for the northern New Jersey Center of Excellence, talks about why prescribing medication for opioid use disorder is the pinnacle of a harm reduction strategy.


A Tale of Two Pilots: Low-Threshold Buprenorphine

Cole Zaccaro, MAT program manager, Community Health Center of Asbury Park, talks about how low-threshold programs are an effective way to help people who have experienced trauma get stabilized and transfer to a traditional substance use treatment program for further recovery and ongoing maintenance.


It Takes a Village: Collaboration and Connections for Support in Substance Use

Heather Ogden, the Linkage to Care Coordinator for the CDC Foundation, describes some of the collaborations happening throughout New Jersey that are helping to “de-silo” activities, reducing redundancies, and creating partnerships that link people to care.


Harm Reduction and Healing Centered Engagement

Emma Roberts, Senior Director of Capacity Building of the National Harm Reduction Coalition, explores the evolution of trauma-informed care through the embodiment of harm reduction philosophy and practices.


New Jersey Emergency Medical Services and the Opioid Crisis

Tim Seplaki, Chief of EMS Data and Intelligence, explores the role of New Jersey EMS providers in the opioid crisis.