Brain injury is a frequent but often under-recognized condition that commonly co-occurs with substance abuse and can create significant barriers for individuals on their path to recovery if left unaddressed. Traditional treatment approaches do not always adequately meet an individual with brain injury’s needs on their own. Individuals who have acquired a brain injury or permanent cognitive impairment as a result of one or more opioid overdoses require different clinical approaches and interventions to best support them in reaching their treatment goals while decreasing their risk for future overdose. Research shows that such adaptations and accommodations will increase the likelihood of successful recovery from opioid use disorder.

This online Resource Tool Kit is being provided as part of a partnership with the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), initiated in 2019 to provide training on brain injury to addictions providers. These resources are being provided here to assist professionals and others to improve services to those seeking to recover from opioid use disorder and other addictions. These resources will be regularly updated. If you are seeking further assistance, please contact the BIANYS Family Helpline at 518-459-7911 or 1-800-444-6443.


Accommodating the Symptoms of TBI. Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation.

HELPS Screening Tool (see pages 5-6)

TIP 29: Substance Use Disorder Treatment for People With Physical and Cognitive Disabilities

Screening for Traumatic Brain Injury: Findings and Public Health Implications. Kristen Dams-O’Connor, PhD, Joshua B. Cantor, PhD, Margaret Brown, PhD, Marcel P. Dijkers, PhD, Lisa A. Spielman, PhD, and Wayne A. Gordon, PhD

Screening Substance Abuse Treatment Clients for Traumatic Brain Injury: Prevalence and Characteristics (2007) Robert Walker; Jennifer Cole; T Logan; John Corrigan Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 22(6):360–367

“Roads to Recovery: Overdose and Brain Injury” PBS Documentary examining acquired brain injury resulting from opioid overdose.

“Intersection Between TBI and Opioid Use Disorder: Recommendations for Substance Abuse Treatment Providers”

“Connecting People with Disabilities and Opioid Use Disorder to Technology-Based Peer Support”

Peer Support for People with Substance Use Disorder

Information for persons with TBI and their families about alcohol or drug use after TBI. Ohio State University – Neurological Institute.

Substance Abuse and Traumatic Brain Injury


Brain Injury & Opioid Overdose Fact Sheet – National Association of State Head Injury Administrators

Opioid Use Disorder and People with Disabilities – Medication Treatment

Opioids and Brain Injury Facts For Public Health & Substance Abuse Professionals – Maryland Department of Health


Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury Online Training


Blaisdell Addiction Treatment Center (ATC)

Step One at the Northeast Center for Special Care

Abilities First Outpatient Recovery Services (AFORS)

Rochester Regional Health Outpatient Services


Brain Injury Association of America


National Association of State Head Injury Administrators