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Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2017: 223

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Delaware Health Alert Network #346

February 6, 2015 9:51 am


Health Alert
EXPANDED NALOXONE ACCESS IN DELAWARE

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.

Summary

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/

Background

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.

Recommendations

  • Physicians should consider discussing overdose prevention and prescribing naloxone to any of the following individuals:
    • Patients being prescribed prescription opioids for chronic conditions
    • Patients reporting current or past heroin or prescription opioid misuse
    • Individuals who report being a family member or friend of someone who uses heroin or prescription opioids
  • Physicians should be prepared to discuss the following as part of naloxone prescribing:
    • Opioid overdose prevention and recognition
    • Importance of calling 911 - the effects of naloxone are only temporary, therefore, it is essential that individuals receive additional medical assistance.
    • Caring for an overdose victim

Additional Information

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