The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is issuing this health alert to provide the healthcare community with information about the expanded access to naloxone with the creation of the Community and First Responder programs.
In June 2014, Delaware Senate Bill 219 greatly expanded access to naloxone, (also known by the brand names “Narcan” and “Evzio”), a safe and effective medication designed to reverse opiate induced overdose and prevent death. Senate Bill 219 allows first responders (law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS) to administer the drug to individuals suspected to be experiencing an opioid overdose.
In addition, individuals such as friends or family members whose loved ones are known to be at risk of experiencing an opioid related overdose can now receive a prescription for naloxone so they have the drug on hand to use as needed. These individuals are required to complete a one hour approved training class that covers when and how to use naloxone. Senate Bill 219 provides legal protections for people who intervene in the case of an overdose.
The Delaware Overdose Survival Education classes (DOSE) are approved by the Department of Health and Human Services and will be offered by Brandywine Counseling and Community Services. Individuals who might be required to administer naloxone to a friend or family member should receive training on how to administer the medication. Training information is available at http://www.brandywinecounseling.org/
Last year in Delaware, 185 people died of a suspected overdose – about one person every other day. The overdoses involved several substances (often including alcohol, heroin, prescription drugs, and cocaine) and often in combination. Alcohol and drug overdose is a significant health problem in Delaware and nationally.
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