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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Naloxone Saves Lives

Everyday people across the country overdose on opiates in one form or another; in the past there would not be a whole lot anyone, short of a doctor, could do to reverse the situation. With the rise in prescription pain killer use overdoses have become much more common among people from all walks of life. Fortunately, there is a medication available that can accomplish an overdose reversal and with very little training could save countless lives across the world, suggests a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.

The drug Naloxone has successfully reversed more than 10,000 drug overdoses since 1996, according to the CDC report. But, the drug is only effective with opiates; it will not help any other type of overdose. There are programs in 17 states and the District of Columbia that provide naloxone to communities and train individuals on how to use it.

The CDC survey of 48 programs that distributed naloxone found the medication was given to about 53,000 people, who were trained in recognizing and treating an overdose. The programs received reports of 10,171 overdose reversals.

“To address the substantial increases in opioid-related drug overdose deaths, public health agencies could consider comprehensive measures that include teaching laypersons how to respond to overdoses and administer naloxone to those in need,” the researchers wrote.

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