FROM: U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Expanding Naloxone use could reduce drug overdose deaths and save lives
Where you live makes a difference
Allowing more basic emergency medical service (EMS) staff to administer naloxone could reduce drug overdose deaths that involve opioids, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, “Disparity in Naloxone Administration by Emergency Medical Service Providers and the Burden of Drug Overdose in Rural Communities,” published in the American Journal of Public Health.
In 2013, more than 16,000 deaths in the United States involved prescription opioids, and more than 8,000 others were related to heroin. Naloxone is a prescription drug that can reverse the effects of prescription opioid and heroin overdose, and can be life-saving if administered in time.
According to the study findings, advanced EMS staff were more likely than basic EMS staff to administer naloxone. A majority of states have adopted national guidelines that prohibit basic EMS staff from administering the drug as an injection. As of 2014, only 12 states allowed basic EMS staff to administer naloxone for a suspected opioid overdose; all 50 states allow advanced EMS staff to administer the overdose reversal treatment.
“Opioid overdose deaths are devastating families and communities, especially in rural areas,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Many of these deaths can be prevented by improving prescribing practices to prevent opioid addiction, expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment, and increasing use of naloxone for suspected overdoses. Having trained EMS staff to administer naloxone in rural areas will save lives.”
To reduce opioid overdose deaths, particularly in rural areas, CDC recommends expanding training on the administration of naloxone to all emergency service staff, and helping basic EMS personnel meet the advanced certification requirements.