Opioid Overdoses and Suicides-Two Overlapping Public Health Crises (Webinar Recording)

Central East Webinar: Opioid Overdoses and Suicides-Two Overlapping Public Health Crises
Bobbi Jo Yarbourgh, PsyD, and Julie Richards, MPH

August 8, 2019, 1-2 PM EST


Rates of both opioid-related overdoses and suicides are increasing in the U.S. These two adverse outcomes share common risk factors and many opioid-related overdose deaths labeled as accidents may actually be suicides. In this webinar, researchers will describe the context of the opioid crisis, identify links between opioid-related overdoses and suicides, and learn about how integrated screening and follow-up for depression, suicidal behavior, and substance use in primary care can help to identify opportunities for prevention.


  1. Understand the current context of opioid prescribing in the U.S. and the risks of opioid-related harms including abuse, misuse, addiction, and overdose
  2. Understand the links between opioid-related overdoses and suicides
  3. Review an example of integrated screening/follow-up for depression, suicidality, and substance use in primary care


Bobbi Jo Yarborough imageBobbi Jo Yarbourgh, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and health services researcher working to improve care and outcomes among individuals with serious mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders. Across both areas, her work has focused on consumer definitions of recovery and preferences for treatment. Dr. Yarborough’s current research on mental illness includes development of a community engagement intervention for individuals experiencing a first psychotic episode; evaluation of the implementation of the national Zero Suicide initiative across several health systems, including Kaiser Permanente Northwest; and integration of opioid-related variables into a previously-developed suicide risk prediction model in order to predict opioid-related suicide attempts and deaths. Her past work has included developing a lifestyle intervention (STRIDE) that helped adults taking antipsychotics to lose weight, improve glucose control, and reduce hospitalizations; and a study examining patterns and rates of preventive service use among patients with and without serious mental illnesses. In addition to her mental illness work, Dr. Yarborough has a thriving program of research on substance use, with a focus on opioid use. This research includes examining the incidence and prevalence of the risks of opioid abuse, misuse, and addiction among patients treated with opioids for chronic pain; an observational study designed to measure the incidence and predictors of opioid overdose and death using patient health records, insurance claims, and death records; a study examining long-term changes in function associated with opioid dose changes; and an examination of different models of treatment for opioid use disorders in primary care settings.
Julie Richards imageJulie Richards, MPH has a particular interest in research designed to improve care for stigmatized conditions. She has applied these interests in a broad range of research projects related to sexually transmitted disease, depression, smoking cessation, and suicide and substance use. Julie is also currently enrolled in the University of Washington Health Services PhD program, concentrating in Health Systems Research, and planning to complete the program in 2019. Julie is currently engaged in research projects on suicide prevention as well as alcohol use, funded by NIMH, NIAAA, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is a co-investigator on a project seeking to understand suicide attempts following patient reports of no ideation (SRG-0-150-13), and she helps manage Dr. Greg Simon’s large pragmatic trial of population-based programs to prevent suicide attempt (UH3 MH092201). She also manages Dr. Katharine Bradley’s recently completed trial of a collaborative care intervention for primary care patients with alcohol use disorders in the VA (R01 AA018702). Julie is also involved in a large-scale project evaluating the implementation of routine annual screening for depression, alcohol, marijuana and drug use across all 25 Kaiser Permanente Washington primary care clinics (funded in part by AHRQ R18 HS023173-01) and data analyses evaluating whether clinical alcohol screening can be used to monitor drinking outcomes in HIV+ patients (R21 AA022866-012015).


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August 8, 2019
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