How do Public Libraries Respond to Patron Queries About Opioid Use Disorder?


Public health officials seek to utilize public libraries as resources for people struggling with Opioid Use Disorder. A recent study led by PISC Senior Scholar Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MPhil, MSHP and Executive Committee Member Zachary Meisel, MD, MPH, MA, evaluated the resources public libraries already offer to those inquiring about OUD information. An audit inspection was conducted of 100 public libraries in Pennsylvania across geographically diverse regions. After verifying responses, results indicated that 57 libraries provided health information resources, 87 libraries provided referrals to an organization that could provide further assistance, and 28 libraries provided information about naloxone access. The team concluded that although public libraries do connect patrons to OUD treatment and support services, there are “opportunities for improvement in how libraries engage and refer patrons with substance use needs.”


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