U.S. Attorney General Holder Urges Use of Drug to Help In Heroin ODs

Attorney General Eric Holder declaring heroin addiction is an “urgent and growing public health crisis,” urged first responders to carry the drug naloxone that helps resuscitate victims from an overdose.

“Addiction to heroin and other opiates — including certain prescription pain-killers — is impacting the lives of Americans in every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life — and all too often, with deadly results,” Holder said in a video message posted Monday on the Justice Department website.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/03/10/holder-heroin-overdose-help/6247281/

Source: USAToday.com – March 10, 2014

Wider Use of Antidote Could Lower Overdose Deaths by Nearly 50%

“Distributing naloxone and training people to use it can cut the death rates from overdose nearly in half, according to a new study.

The new study, published in the BMJ, followed the expansion of Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) programs in Massachusetts.  The programs were offered at emergency rooms, primary care centers, rehabilitation centers, support groups for families of addicted people and other places that might attract those at risk.

The study involved 2912 people in 19 different Massachusetts communities — each of which had had at least 5 opioid overdose deaths between 2004 and 2006.  The participants were trained to recognize overdose, call 911 and administer naloxone using a nasal inhaler.  If the naloxone didn’t work, they were instructed to try another dose and perform rescue breathing until help arrived.

During that time, 153 naloxone-based rescues were reported for which there was data on outcomes, and in 98% of those cases, the drug revived the victim.

There are still practical barriers however, to widely distributing naloxone and implementing more OEND type programs. Advocates have argued that the medication should be made available over-the-counter since it has little potential for abuse and is nontoxic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and even the drug czar’s office support making it more widely available, and unlike the case with needle exchange programs, there has been no organized opposition to OEND. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no precedent for allowing over-the-counter sales of such a drug: naloxone is a generic medication approved in an injectable form. Without a company to submit an application for its use in the intranasal version, the agency isn’t likely to OK over-the-counter sales.”

http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/05/wider-use-of-antidote-could-lower-overdose-deaths-from-by-nearly-50/

Source: HealthlandTime.com – February 5, 2014

Role of Police in Responding to Overdoses Often Unclear: Study

hospital sign“The role of police officers in responding to overdoses is often unclear, according to a new study. Researchers say training officers in administering the overdose antidote naloxone could have a significant impact on the death rate from drug-related fatalities.

The study found that while police officers often serve as medical first responders, it is often unclear what police can or should do at the scene of an overdose, PsychCentral.com reports.

The researchers interviewed 13 law enforcement officials in Connecticut and Rhode Island communities experiencing high rates of drug overdoses. They found officials were supportive of being involved in overdose prevention, but they expressed hesitancy about laypersons administering naloxone. Officers said they were frustrated with their current overdose response options, the lack of accessible drug treatment, the cycle of addiction and the pervasiveness of easily accessible prescription opioid medications in their communities.”

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/community-related/role-of-police-in-responding-to-overdoses-often-unclear-

Source: JoinTogether.org – September 30, 2013

Legal Interventions to Reduce Overdose Mortality: Naloxone Access and Overdose Good Samaritan Laws

“Opioid overdose is typically reversible through the timely administration of the drug naloxone and the provision of emergency care. However, access to naloxone and other emergency treatment is often limited by laws and that pre-date the overdose epidemic. In an attempt to reverse this unprecedented increase in preventable overdose deaths, a number of states have recently amended those laws to increase access to emergency care and treatment for opiate overdose.”

The Network for Public Health Law has published an update on access to naloxone by state and Good Samaritan laws.

http://www.networkforphl.org/_asset/qz5pvn/network-naloxone-10-4.pdf

Source: Network for Public Health Law – May, 2013

Study: Distributing Naloxone Injection Kits Could Help Addicts Reverse Heroin Overdoses

Distributing a drug that reverses drug overdoses in heroin users would save lives and be cost-effective, according to a new analysis.

U.S. researchers, who published their findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, calculated that one death may be prevented for every 164 naloxone injection kits they distribute to heroin users. That, the researchers say, works out to be a few hundred dollars for every year of healthy life gained.

“The great news here is these overdose deaths can be prevented, it’s cost effective to do so, and may even be cost saving,” said Dr. Phillip Coffin, the study’s lead author from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

http://medcitynews.com/2012/12/study-distributing-naloxone-injection-kits-could-help-addicts-reverse-heroin-overdoses/

Source: MedCityNews.com – December 31, 2012

Preventing Overdose: Obama Administration Drug Czar Calls for Wider Access to Overdose Antidote

governmentSpeaking at a North Carolina overdose-prevention program, the Obama administration’s drug czar Gil Kerlikowske called for increased action to prevent drug overdose deaths. Notably, for the first time Kerlikowske urged wider distribution of a medication called naloxone, an antidote to overdoses of opioid drugs, including prescription pain relievers and heroin, saying that “naloxone can be expanded beyond public health officials.”

http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/22/preventing-overdose-obama-administration-drug-czar-calls-for-wider-access-to-overdose-antidote/

Source: Healthland.Time.com – August 22, 2012

OTC Naloxone? It’s Possible

FDA officials are considering whether naloxone should be more widely available beyond medical settings, including through over-the-counter (OTC) sales and/or an intranasal version of the drug.

 ”Certainly, considering naloxone as an over-the-counter drug is forging new territory,” said Andrea Leonard-Segal, MD, director, FDA Division of Nonprescription Clinical Evaluation, Office of Nonprescription Products. Classifying the drug OTC would probably be accomplished through the new drug application (NDA) process, she said. To accomplish it by FDA rulemaking would take years. The NDA process for switching to OTC classification, she said, would require a fresh look at the drug’s chemistry, pharmacology/toxicology, microbiology, and clinical pharmacology. There might not be a need for efficacy data if a current formulation were used, she said.

http://drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/drugtopics/Modern%2BMedicine%2BNow/OTC-naloxone-Its-possible/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/772754?contextCategoryId=40159

Source:  DrugTopics.com – May 15, 2012

Government Considers Overdose Antidote, Naloxone, to Fight Prescription Drug Misuse

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has for the first time advocated considering the distribution of the naloxone, an overdose antidote, as a way to curb the rising toll of overdose deaths in America.

The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, has said that the drug should be available without a prescription.

http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/27/government-considers-overdose-antidote-naloxone-to-fight-prescription-drug-misuse/

Source: Healthland.Time.com – April 27, 2012

Naloxone (Narcan) in the News

Naloxone Debate: FDA Hears Testimony About Making an Overdose Antidote Nonprescription

Parents testified at an open meeting called by the FDA to consider whether the lifesaving antidote to opioid overdose — a non-addictive, non-toxic drug called
naloxone (Narcan) — should be made available over-the-counter, so that everyone can keep it in their first aid kit, just in case.

The meeting was sponsored by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, whose director, Dr. Nora Volkow, has said that she supports making the drug available without a prescription.

http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/13/naloxone-debate-fda-hears-testimony-about-making-an-overdose-antidote-nonprescription/

Source: Time Healthland.com – April 13, 2012

Antidote (Naloxone) Hard To Find As Heroin Death Toll Rises

In the face of the rising death toll, the state of Washington in 2010 made the lifesaving opiate antidote Naloxone available by prescription. The drug, also known by several brand names, has long been used by paramedics and emergency-room doctors to pull overdose victims back from the brink of death.

It’s legal, but it’s not widely available, said Caleb Banta-Green, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. “It’s an issue of needing enough demand. People don’t know to ask for it,” he said.

http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2012/04/06/antidote-hard-to-find-as-heroin-death-toll-rises

Source: Yakima-Herald.com – April 6, 2012

CDC Report: Community-Based Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs Providing Naloxone – U.S., 2010

Since the mid-1990s, community-based programs have offered opioid overdose prevention services to persons who use drugs, their families and friends, and service providers. Since 1996, an increasing number of these programs have provided the opioid antagonist naloxone hydrochloride, the treatment of choice to reverse the potentially fatal respiratory depression caused by overdose of heroin and other opioids.

In October 2010, the Harm Reduction Coalition, a national advocacy and capacity-building organization, surveyed 50 programs known to distribute naloxone in the United States, to collect data on local program locations, naloxone distribution, and overdose reversals. This report summarizes the findings for the 48 programs that completed the survey and the 188 local programs represented by the responses. Since the first opioid overdose prevention program began distributing naloxone in 1996, the respondent programs reported training and distributing naloxone to 53,032 persons and receiving reports of 10,171 overdose reversals.

Nineteen (76.0%) of the 25 states with 2008 drug overdose death rates higher than the median and nine (69.2%) of the 13 states in the highest quartile did not have a community-based opioid overdose prevention program that distributed naloxone.

Twenty-one (43.7%) responding programs reported problems obtaining naloxone in the “past few months” before the survey. The most frequently reported reasons for difficulties obtaining naloxone were the cost of naloxone relative to available funding and the inability of suppliers to fill orders.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6106a1.htm?s_cid=mm6106a1_w

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) – February 17, 2012

FDA Calls for Public Comments on Wider Distribution of Naloxone for Opioid Overdose Fatality Prevention

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), in collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, National Institutes of Drug

Abuse, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is announcing a scientific workshop to initiate a public discussion about the potential value of making naloxone more widely available outside of conventional medical settings to reduce the incidence of opioid overdose fatalities.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-11-17/pdf/2011-29703.pdf

Source: Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 222 / Thursday, November 17, 2011 / Notices

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