Overdose Fatality Review Team (OFRT): What it is and How it Works

By: B Teed, Overdose Fatality Review Team Coordinator/COVID-19 Social Support Coordinator/Preventionist

The Morris County Overdose Fatality Review Team (OFRT) was established in late 2020 to analyze available data to identify and understand the circumstances surrounding fatal drug overdoses occurring in Morris County, New Jersey. Using a methodological approach, the Morris County OFRT will identify the type of drug (i.e., opiates, heroin, fentanyl, prescription and/or pharmaceutical drugs), the social determinants of health that might influence a decedent’s life, missed opportunities for prevention, and gaps in the system. 

The Morris County OFRT meets monthly to review decedents based on criteria including but not limited to, date of death, age, race, location of death, preliminary toxicology, and other trends. Reviews start by presenting obituaries and move into a next-of-kin interview, when available. This is followed by various agency reports that can fill in gaps of information such as law enforcement, mental health services, substance use services, healthcare, and education systems. 

From these meetings, members from various professions collaborate on systemic, community, and individual recommendations. After recommendations have been made, they are reviewed during the monthly subcommittee meeting. As a result of these meetings and recommendations, the OFRT sub-committee has produced various community education materials, like “rack cards” containing information regarding Narcan, Xylazine, signs of overdose, and the impact of stigma. If you’re interested in discussing community recommendations or receiving educational materials please reach out to, B Teed, bteed@mcpik.org.