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The Issue

First responders face occupational risks, stressors, and burnout from responding to the overdose crisis. There is a gap between new responsibilities placed on first responders and the training and resources provided, reducing personnel wellness and effectiveness. SHIELD fills the gap by delivering evidence-based training, customized to local needs, featuring easy-to-implement practices such as task-shifting to community-based specialists to boost officer occupational safety, wellness, and effectiveness.

What We Do

The SHIELD Training Initiative trains first responders how to be safe, healthy, and more effective when performing their duties during the overdose crisis. It is a vital resource at a time when emergency personnel are being asked to do more with less, while facing high. Built on two decades of experience working with law enforcement agencies and deep knowledge of the research base, the SHIELD curriculum is practice-driven and solutions-focused. It fills major training gaps, giving first responders the tools they need to be safer, healthier, and more effective in these crises.

This program from the SHIELD Training Initiative will provide first responders and departments with operational strategies and best practices to use in responding to the overdose crisis in order to:

  • Protect first responders from occupational health and safety risks

  • Expand first responders' toolbox to help them respond more effectively to the public safety challenges of substance-use related encounters

    Improve job satisfaction by offering strategies to reduce first responder stress and burnout by taskshifting to specialized community resources

    Reduce addiction and related crime in the community

What SHIELD Offers

The SHIELD curriculum provides tools that make first responders safer and healthier while also protecting themselves, their colleagues, their families, and their communities. Departments that implement SHIELD strategies will also see:

  • Reduced first responder stress and burnout in responding to the overdose crisis

    Improved job satisfaction and retention

  • Improved public safety

  • Reduced overdose and addiction in the community

  • Reduced risk of transmission of bloodborne diseases among first responders and the community

Research & Evidence

The SHIELD training is based on nearly two decades of experience and research on the roles of law enforcement's response to public health challenges. 

The SHIELD training model’s core curriculum has been extensively evaluated. It has been found to be effective in boosting officer attitudes and intentions about using best practices that deliver multiple benefits:

  • Improving public safety by reducing addiction and drug-related crime in the community

  • Increasing first responder wellbeing and retention by reducing stress, improving morale, occupational safety, and job satisfaction, while also facilitating community level collaboration


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