The US has seen a steady decline in opioid prescriptions since 2012. While a reduction might truly benefit one patient, for another it could have fatal outcomes. The federally funded research study, Clinical Context of Suicide Following Opioid Transitions, abbreviated to CSI:OPIOIDs, seeks to understand and prevent suicides that occur following a prescription opioid reduction. Patient safety risks after opioid taper and stoppage have been studied with statistics – but these studies tell us very little about the suicides occurring in the context of an opioid medication reduction.
To learn more, the CSI:OPIOIDs research study team carries out interviews with anyone who lost a loved one to suicide following a prescription opioid reduction. These interviews cover a host of topics and usually last around 90 minutes.
Completing an interview about a loved one who died by suicide might seem daunting. Especially when the people you’re talking to are folks you’ve never met before.
The study team is absolutely open to answering any questions you might have if you’re considering participation in the study but are having doubts.
We have had several questions come in from folks who aren’t sure they should participate. They share concerns, such as the amount of time since their loved one died, or the complex mental health issues their loved one had, and other problems that might have burdened their loved one at the time of their death. Regardless of these, if you want to share your loved one’s story, we want to hear from you.
Some people have asked if participating in our study could limit pursuing legal action related to their loved one’s death. They wonder if the study records are truly confidential. They are. CSI:OPIOIDs is covered by 2 National Institutes of Health Certificates of Confidentiality – these certificates protect the privacy of participants. They prohibit study data from being released.
The CSI:OPIOIDs research team members understand there is an emotional burden that comes with talking about a loved one’s life and death. People can stop participation at any time. For example, some people may complete a screening survey, and nothing more.
Everything is voluntary – everything from entering the study and completing a consent form to every last interview question. Our team’s interview guide includes a reminder that each question is voluntary. A participant is always free to stop the interview at any time. We can take a brief break, we can reschedule for a different day, or a person can stop and walk away with no intention of coming back to finish. This is a difficult topic to talk about – we want to make sure that participants feel heard, honored, and respected.
Although the team is still in the early stages of completing interviews, we have already noticed a strong pattern of participants saying they appreciate having been part of this project. We believe this work is essential to create better-informed patient safety standards. We’re incredibly appreciative to anyone considering participation and want to encourage them: If you’re interested in participating, please fill out our survey to see if you’re eligible to join this study.