Naloxone: The Universal Antidote for Opioid Overdose– Every day, approximately 113 people die from a drug overdose in the United Sates. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 74% of the 22,810 deaths attributed to drug overdoses in 2011 involved opioid pain relievers or prescription painkillers.[i] Moreover, in 2007, prescription opioid abuse cost the United States 55.7 billion dollars, an amount that includes job loss and incarceration. Overdoses are far more likely to occur in otherwise healthy individuals, and they are a leading cause of accidental death in young people. The morbidity and mortality of this disease are disproportionally high in terms of economic cost and emotional burden on survivors and their families. Given the immense toll that this disease takes on the lives of patients, caregivers, and society, it is critical for healthcare providers to understand how to screen for potentially at-risk patients, quickly diagnose those who are overdosing, and effectively treat patients when they see them in the hospital or ambulatory setting.
-Naloxone, the antidote to opioid drugs, is an extremely effective agent with minimal side-effects. However, this medication is not being used as effectively as necessary, and it is not as readily available as it should be to save lives. In addition, healthcare providers do not know enough about naloxone, and patients who are overdosing outside a hospital setting do not always have timely access to the medication.
Identify patients at increased risk for opioid overdose and diagnose patients presenting with drug overdoses, including those patients with respiratory and central nervous system depression.
Evaluate recently developed treatments for opioid overdoses and their potential use by at-risk individuals and their families.
Educate patients and caretakers about how to administer naloxone, how to re-evaluate the patient as the naloxone wears off, and how to inform emergency personnel of known or suspected opioid overdose.
1.0 Free AANP CEUs for Nurse Practitioners which includes 0.5 Hours of Pharmacology
This course also offers Free CEUs for Physicians, PAs, and Pharmacists