How to Deal With Opioid Overdoses Effectively
When a person is prescribed opioid analgesics for chronic pain, there is always a chance of an overdose. People often get addicted to such medications, resulting in prescription drug abuse being one of the biggest threats in the United States.
One of the key weapons to fight the epidemic of opioids is naloxone. It is an opioid antagonist that has been extensively used by physicians and emergency medical services providers for many years as an overdose risk mitigation intervention for patients who overdose on opioids.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, there is extensive support to the use of naloxone owing to its life-saving capability. The report says that educating the masses on prescription drug overdoses, how to recognize and respond to them, and the way to administer opioid overdose reversal medication is crucial to the fight against prescription drug abuse. It is “an important public health intervention to reduce mortality,” the CDC report says.
The report admits that opioid overdose death rates have significantly declined in communities where community-based programs have been implemented. These programs, which incorporate naloxone and impart training to at-risk individuals and their loved ones on overdose prevention, need to be popularized to combat the epidemic.
Aiding with helpful laws
Local legislation in various states has been quite helpful in addressing the problem of opioid overdose. Some states have offered immunity from prosecution to motivate people to seek help during an overdose emergency. That allows people who have overdosed seek treatment without any fear.
Studies have revealed that people suffering from opioid overdose often refrain from calling the emergency services for the fear of arrest. The implementation of Washington’s Good Samaritan law, for an example, saw a jump in the number of cases wherein a drug user called for assistance without hesitation.
Introducing overdose prevention activities — involving education, training, and safe and effective response to or treatment of an acute overdose event — can also go a long way.
Looking at the importance of naloxone, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 collaborated with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the CDC to discuss how to expand access to naloxone, making them potentially safer and easier to use. FDA and NIH are collaborating with drug manufacturers to support the development of new formulations of naloxone, which can be used as nasal spray or auto injector.
The HHS is also providing funding and technical assistance to raise the awareness of overdose prevention and to increase the number of people responding to an overdose, including certain first responders not traditionally trained in overdose prevention and response. Extensive research has been conducted by the CDC to have an explicit understanding of circumstances and risk factors for overdose.
In order to develop a comprehensive computer-assisted training curriculum on overdose for public safety personnel (PSP), including police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, the NIH is also funding a Small Business Innovation Research Grant which is easily accessible.
The primary activities for overdose prevention as admitted by the report are identified as opportunities to enhance overdose prevention and expanding current efforts to improve access to and use of naloxone.
Some other suggestions were also made in the CDC report to address the prescription drug abuse in the country. They include:
- Expand efforts to support the development of new formulations of naloxone, such as nasal spray or auto-injector formulations.
- Partner with national, state and local EMS and other first responder organizations to disseminate information on the use of naloxone.
- Evaluate naloxone programs to better understand how and under what conditions it is most effectively being used.
- Examine the impact of immunity from prosecution.
If you or a loved one is abusing prescription drugs and looking for help, the Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline can connect you to the best prescription abuse treatment clinic in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866–692–3563 to learn more about prescription abuse treatment clinic Arizona.