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Trends in naloxone administration to treat drug overdose examined

  • Trudy.Sharp
  • 11/7/2013 4:15:00 PM
  • View Count 1548

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) has observed alarming trends in drug overdose over the last decade. During calendar years 1999 - 2011, Ohio’s death rate due to unintentional drug overdoses increased 440 percent. The increase in deaths has been largely driven by abuse and misuse of prescription opioid pain medications.

Coinciding with the increase in mortality, the number of emergency medical services (EMS) runs for suspected opioid-related overdose have increased during the last decade. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) may dispense naloxone when they recognize that a person may be experiencing overdose; however, only EMT Paramedics and those with an Intermediate license may dispense the drug, while first responders and EMT Basics are not allowed to dispense the drug.

The increase in opioid-related mortality has led the Ohio Department of Health to fund several ground-breaking pilot projects to reverse the trends in unintentional drug overdose. Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) currently serves Cuyahoga, Montgomery and Scioto counties and the city of Cleveland. The program provides high-risk opioid users with naloxone and trains these individuals on how to respond to an opioid overdose before EMS squads arrive. ODH is planning to expand to three additional Project DAWN sites soon.

Read the Epidemiological Report on Naloxone Administration in Ohio 2003-2012 prepared by Rick Massatti, Ph.D., in the Ohio MHAS Office of Quality, Planning and Research.The purpose of this report is to describe trends and patterns in the incidence of naloxone administration by demographic and regional characteristics with EMS data from 2003- 2012. Findings will be used to develop and influence drug prevention and treatment policies.


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