Family Can Play Lifesaving Role in Overdoses by Using Naloxone: Study

Family members can be active participants in responding to the overdose epidemic by rescuing loved ones with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, a new study finds.

Boston University researchers studied almost 41,000 people who underwent naloxone training, and found family members used the antidote in about 20 percent of 4,373 rescue attempts. Almost all the attempts were successful, HealthDay reports.

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All Patients on Chronic Opioid Therapy Should Be Co-Prescribed Naloxone: Expert

All patients on long-term opioid treatment should be co-prescribed the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, even if they are not considered to be at high risk of an opioid overdose, according to the director of the University of New Mexico Pain Center.

Patients on long-term opioids should be co-prescribed naloxone because the risk of opioid overdose can change quickly, says Joanna Katzman, M.D. “You never know when someone will go from low risk to medium risk to high risk, especially in the chronic pain population. A person can be on a stable dose of opiates and then develop a condition that depresses breathing, such as pneumonia, sleep apnea or a fever. Because opiates also depress breathing, suddenly they are at risk.” Or a person may go to the hospital and receive a higher dose of opiates from a physician than what they are already on, increasing their risk of an overdose, Dr. Katzman noted.

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States Receive $53 Million in Grants to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Forty-four states will receive a total of $53 million in grants from the Obama Administration to fight the opioid epidemic, the Los Angeles Times reports. Administration officials are calling on legislators to approve $1.1 billion requested by President Obama to increase addiction treatment.

The new state funds will include money to provide first responders with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. Michael Botticelli, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said more help is needed. “Simply reviving people isn’t enough to turn the tide of this epidemic,” he said.

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Program Connects People to Treatment After They Survive Opioid Overdose

A New Jersey program immediately connects people to treatment after they have been revived from an opioid overdose with naloxone. Recovery specialists are contacted by hospitals participating in the program once an opioid overdose call has been dispatched.

The Opioid Overdose Recovery Program is run by Barnabas Health in two New Jersey counties with high opioid overdose death rates, CBS News reports. The program works with law enforcement and healthcare providers, including five hospitals. Grant funding is provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Since the program began three months ago, there have been 135 overdoses in Ocean and Monmouth counties, of which 30 were fatal. According to the Ocean County Prosecutors Office, about half of those revived with naloxone have agreed to go into treatment this year. Previously, almost no one who was revived with naloxone agreed to go into treatment, the article notes.

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Helping People Addicted to Opioids Part of Re-election Strategy of Some Republicans

Some Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate are basing part of their re-election strategies on bills aimed at helping people addicted to opioids, according to The New York Times.

The U.S. House, after overwhelmingly approving 18 bills last week aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, will work with the Senate to craft compromise legislation.

The bills include provisions for prescription drug monitoring programs and assistance to states that want to expand the availability of the opioid overdose drug naloxone. House Republicans in difficult re-election races have attached their names to some of the bills, the article notes.

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