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ORION - Overdose Risk InfOrmatioN Project

Years: 2011, 2012, 2013
Programme: Drug Prevention and Information 2007-2013
Applicant: University of St. Andrews
Partner: Business Solutions Europa (UK), Aarhus University Hospital Risskov (DK), Universität Duisburg - Essen (DE), Università degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca (IT)

Issue and Objectives

'Drugs Overdose Kills One European Per Hour' (EPHA, 2008) - an alarming but reasonably accurate reflection of the most recent reported European figures (EMCDDA, 2009a). This simple headline however does not account for the complex nature of the overdoses reported or the various comorbidities associated with non-fatal overdoses (Warner-Smith et al, 2002). A number of the fatal overdoses reported in the European reports have occurred alongside the presence of other substances e.g. alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine which raises important concerns relating to the influence of poly-drug consumption on fatal overdoses (EMCDDA, 2009a). The toxicological reports add weight to the need for interventions which can address these complex needs. Individuals who take an overdose may in some instances receive health care for substance misuse. However evidence is clear that treatments themselves do not necessarily change the behaviours which put them at higher-risk of fatal overdose. ORION aims to utilise an e-health tool in an innovative approach to raise awareness of factors which influence risk overdose in a European population identified as high-risk. By developing a decision analysis model it is possible to identify personalised risks of subsequent overdose and utilise a targeted approach to provide health care to improve awareness and understanding.


This project will deliver an e-health intervention which has been modelled on a previous decision analysis software program that was developed to NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines for hypertension treatment. This resulted in a tool which had benefits for both clinicians and patients and therefore has merit in improving health through a more patient-centered and individual treatment plan. The software package which is to be developed in this project aims to replicate the high standards but transfer this approach to a clinical population which has not previously been targeted with a decision making system. As the application of a decision analysis tool has not been tested within a clinical setting before therefore the tool will be pilot tested over a three month period where each of the four partners trialling the software is asked to identify 10 patients who meet the criteria defined. The data collected from both quantitative and qualitative evaluation will be analysed by each of the four countries (Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Italy). Each country will be responsible for ensuring the data collected is analysed and reported.

Results and products

E-health tool that raises awareness of factors which influence risk overdose in a European population identified as high-risk.

Project website: http://orion-euproject.com
Contact person: Giovanni Viganò

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