When people hear the word “overdose,” they immediately think of overdose and death caused from illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine. But misuse of prescription opiod painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin has increased rapidly in the United States as well. Prescription opioid overdose was responsible for more deaths in the United States from 1999-2008 than heroin and cocaine overdose combined. Death can be prevented in opioid overdoses if patients receive basic life support and the administration of Naloxone soon after opioid overdose is suspected. Naloxone is effective at reversing the cause, rather than just the symptoms, of an opioid overdose. Programs training police and fire personnel in opioid overdose response using naloxone have shown promise. Programs to provide drug users and their caregivers with naloxone are also recommended. In the United States its use is estimated to have prevented 10,000 opioid overdose deaths.
Please read the article in the Chronic Pain News section of Anthem’s website called, “Giving OD Antidote to Those Using Powerful Painkillers Might Save Lives” which will give more information about these important life saving “rescue kits” for families and friends living with loved ones at risk for overdose either from illegal or prescription opioids.
Posted by: Angela Whiting, North Hampton, N.H.