Introduction

Multiple Perspectives on Overdose Fatality Reviews

Multiple Perspectives on Overdose Fatality Reviews

This webinar originally occurred on July 27, 2021
Duration: 1 hour

Overview

This webinar provided an overview of overdose fatality reviews (OFRs) with a specific focus on engaging partnerships with coroners, medical examiners, and medicolegal death investigators.  The presenters highlighted OFRs that have been implemented by engaging the medicolegal death investigation system and will discuss challenges and recommendations associated with implementing an OFR.

The webinar consisted of three presentations on OFRs highlighting a county-level, a rural community, and a state-wide approach.  The following presentations were included in the webinar:

  • Ocean County (New Jersey) OFR: A County Approach to Conducting Social Autopsies
  • Jay County (Indiana) OFR: A Rural Community Approach to Conducting Social Autopsies
  • Utah State Department of Health OFR: Important Partnerships

Moderator

  • Mallory O'Brien, Ph.D. | Senior Researcher Advisor at the Office of Justice Programs

Ocean County (New Jersey) Overdose Fatality Review: A County Approach to Conducting Social Autopsies

This presentation focused on the importance of the medical examiner in a county-driven fatality review model. The presenters discussed the development of the Ocean County Overdose Fatality Review Program (OC-OFRP), which was led by the local health department and supported by the county medical examiner and county prosecutor’s office. This presentation reviewed the data that the OC-OFRP has analyzed over the past several years and how that data was used to initiate actionable next steps in Ocean County.

The OC-OFRP started as a grassroots movement in 2017.  In 2020, the New Jersey Department of Health provided grant funds for the fatality review model to expand to multiple counties in the state with the local medical examiner offices as integral partners. The OC-OFRP began conducting social autopsies in January 2018 and has reviewed 150 cases to date.

Presenter

  • Kimberly Reilly | Department of Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Opioid Dependency at the Ocean County Health Department in New Jersey

Jay County (Indiana) Overdose Fatality Review: A Rural Community Approach to Conducting Social Autopsies

This presentation discussed the importance of local partnerships in a county-level overdose fatality review (OFR) for a rural community.  The presenters discussed the development of the Jay County Drug Prevention Coalition Overdose Fatality Review Team, which is led by the local drug and alcohol prevention coalition with support from the county coroner and other community partners.

Through this OFR model, the local prevention coalition, coroner’s office, and other community partners worked together to review county data, reduce stigma/barriers, and focus on positive change in a rural community.  The OFR was developed in 2019 with the first decedent reviewed in 2020.  The OFR was a grassroots effort and is currently supported through funding from the Indiana Department of Health.  This funding has allowed rural communities to take a deeper look into local data and community trends to focus on actionable next steps for the community.

Presenter

  • Kimbra Reynolds | Executive Director of the Jay County Drug Prevention Coalition and the Overdose Fatality Review Coordinator for Jay County Indiana

Utah State Department of Health Opioid Fatality Review: Important Partnerships

This presentation discussed the development of a statewide opioid fatality review led by the state health department in partnership with the Office of the Medical Examiner and other key agencies.  The Utah State Department of Health Opioid Fatality Review Committee (OFRC) was established in 2018 and is comprised of over forty key members who are active and engaged in the fatality review process. The goal of the OFRC is to provide recommendations which will inform prevention efforts across agencies to reduce the number of opioid-related overdose fatalities in the state of Utah.

Presenters

  • Megan Broekemeier | Fatal Drug Overdose Research Coordinator in the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner at the Utah Department of Health
  • Kacy Robinson | Fatality Review Specialist at the Utah Department of Health

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contact us at ForensicCOE@rti.org with any questions and subscribe to our newsletter for notifications.


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