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Helping students understand the relevance of industry documents to the ongoing opioid crisis

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The Opioid Industry Documents Archive (OIDA) Curriculum Library provides teaching materials that introduce students at the undergraduate and graduate level to the role of corporate tactics in the opioid crisis as demonstrated by documents found in OIDA, a digital archive co-created by the University of California, San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University containing millions of documents from the opioid industry that shed light on the root causes of the opioid crisis.

These teaching materials have been pilot tested and refined by our team in a variety of courses, ranging from undergraduate and graduate level public health courses to courses on substance use and health policy for health professionals such as medical and nursing students.  

The materials situate opioid industry marketing tactics within the broader framework of the past and present state of the opioid crisis and related litigation. Additionally, the lessons make connections to the literature on the commercial determinants of health that examines the effects of corporate interests on health.

The OIDA Curriculum Library provides teaching materials to:

  1. Enhance understanding of the origins and rapid expansion of the opioid crisis.
  2. Develop insight into industry strategies that actively expanded and fueled the epidemic.
  3. Create pathways to solutions that mitigate harm and prevent similar crises in the future.

Overview of available teaching materials

  • Long lecture (~ 60 minutes)
  • Short lecture (~20 minutes)
  • Lesson plan for breakout discussion session (~20-30 minutes)
  • Lesson plan for document analysis lab (~60 minutes)
  • Annotated bibliography of resources 
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Teaching materials available for download

OIDA Lecture (50 min)

This 50-minute lecture can be used to provide a comprehensive overview on the opioid crisis, including information such as relevant statistics on opioid misuse and overdose, the pharmaceutical industry’s role in exacerbating the crisis and the specific tactics that they have used over the years. The lecture also explores the role of OIDA in illuminating the negative influence of industry tactics on public health.

OIDA Lecture (20 min)

This abbreviated lecture provides a brief overview of the opioid crisis in the US and corporate tactics in the crisis as illuminated by OIDA documents.

OIDA Lesson Plan for Breakout Discussion Session (30 min)

This breakout discussion lesson plan addresses the role of corporate actors in the opioid crisis drawing on public documents found in OIDA. Meant to follow either the 50-minute or 20-minute lecture, this lesson plan draws on OIDA documents and secondary sources, to help learners develop strategies to limit and prevent harms that have been brought about by the opioid industry.

OIDA Lesson Plan for Document Analysis Lab (50 min)

This lab lesson plan for a 50-minute lab/discussion session helps students develop skills in analyzing original OIDA documents and related news coverage about the role of specific corporate actors. This lesson is meant to follow the introductory lecture and operates as a jigsaw activity to map out the broader landscape of corporate tactics.

OIDA Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Teaching

This annotated bibliography provides a list of scholarly articles, books, investigative journalism pieces, documentaries, etc. for use in the classroom and for designing intellectually engaging learning experiences on the opioid crisis for students.

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Using the OIDA Curriculum Library

Dr. Conan Dickson, Associate Practice Professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shared the following about using the teaching materials in the OIDA Curriculum Library: “We found that the use of these real-life documents led to substantive dialogue, especially when we asked them to role play various stakeholders. Additionally, many of the students plunged deeper into the archive and emerged excited about various documents that supported their role.”

Interested in incorporating these resources into your own teaching materials and require the source PowerPoint files? Contact

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The OIDA Curriculum Library has been made possible in part with support from the UCSF-JHU Opioid Industry Documents Archive.

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