Opioid-Overdose Antidote Found Effective

Naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote, can “save lives and money when distributed to heroin users,” says an article by the Join Together Staff at Drugfree.org.
A study by researchers at the San Francisco Department of Public Health found that one death could perhaps be prevented for every 164 naloxone injection kits given to a heroin users, as reported by Reuters. The kits are estimated to cost approximately $400 “for every year of healthy life gained.”

Lead author, Dr. Phillip Coffin, told Reuters more details on these kits.“The great news here is these overdose deaths can be prevented, it’s cost effective to do so, and may even be cost saving,” Dr. Coffin said. A computer simulation was created by Dr. Coffin in order to predict what could happen if these kits were distributed to 20 percent of heroin users in the United States. The conclusion: In a group of 200,000 heroin users, 6.5 percent of their deaths could be prevented with naloxone kits.

Naloxone is sold under the brand name Narcan. It is reported to safely reverse the potentially fatal side effects of oxycodone overdoses, along with heroin and opioids. Emergency rooms and ambulance crews have used it for decades. In recent years, naloxone has been freely distributed to opioid users and their close ones in various areas of the country.

Recently, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that when naloxone is generously distributed, and when people are trained in how to use it, it could save numerous lives. More than 10,000 drug overdoses have been reversed because of naloxone since 1996, according to the CDC report. Naloxone is only effective in treating drug overdoses involving opioids.

View the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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