Philadelphia Program Uses Naloxone to Save Opioid Overdose Victims

A program in Philadelphia that supplies the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to people addicted to drugs, their spouses and other laypeople, and trains them in how to use it, is saving lives, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Since 2006, the program has reversed 174 potentially fatal overdoses in Philadelphia, the article notes. While the drug fatality rate in the city remains high, it has increased by less than 25 percent in the last 10 years. In contrast, in most suburban counties in the area, drug deaths have increased two, three or even five times that amount.

The Philadelphia program and a similar one in Pittsburgh are run out of needle-exchange clinics.

Widely distributing naloxone, and training people in how to use it, could save many lives, suggests a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. Naloxone has successfully reversed more than 10,000 drug overdoses nationwide since 1996, according to the CDC.

The medication is available by prescription only under the brand name Narcan. Only 15 states and the District of Columbia have programs to distribute naloxone in the community.

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    Dennis Welsh

    April 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Wow great news. Thank you for reporting it. How can I get in touch/contact with this agency so that I can get the laypersons training and purchase the naloxone to help my niece in the event she overdose on her habit. thx dennis

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    April 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    We need easy access to naloxone. Why isnt it available OTC in America? Its not an
    ‘abusable” drug and people could have it on hand “just in case”. I have heard so many horror stories of how family members HEAR their loved ones dying from overdose, but have no clue. Opioid overdose causes less than one half of one percent of the deaths in America, alot of these deaths could be prevented with more easy access to naloxone. I wonder where it is ‘available in wasshington DC?”

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    Michael W. Shore, M.D.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    This is certainly a lifesaver. Now, lets have the resources made available to provide treatment for the addiction so that these overdoses do not reoccur!!

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