Massachusetts Medical Society: Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths with Naloxone

Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths with Naloxone

Unfortunately, a drug overdose is no longer a rare occurrence. It has become increasingly important that citizens who may witness an opioid overdose – by friend, family or stranger – be familiar with naloxone, a drug that can be administered without medical training and save a life. Carrying a naloxone rescue kit is essential if you or someone in your life suffers from opioid use disorder. Naloxone, commonly known by its brand name Narcan, is a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone only reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.  It is also important to consider having a naloxone rescue kit if you or someone you know has been prescribed opioids. Naloxone is available to anyone who needs it or would like to carry it in order to be able to save a life

Responding to an overdose…

Usually someone who has overdosed looses consciousness and is unable to respond to stimulation. Other signs of an overdose include: breathing that has stopped or that is very slow and shallow, a slow or non-existent pulse, a noticeable change in skin color (purple/blue or gray), choking or sounds that mimic gurgling, limp body and vomiting. Victims who are overdosing may be awake, but unable to talk. If you suspect someone is overdosing, call 911 and immediately administer naloxone.

The Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law encourages friends, family, or bystanders to assist people having an overdose and to seek emergency medical assistance. The law has significant potential to help reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic and save lives. The law protects victims and those who call 9-1-1 for help from charge, prosecution, and conviction for possession or use of controlled substances. The Law, Chapter 94C, Section 34A: “Immunity from prosecution under Secs. 34 or 35 for persons seeking medical assistance for self or other experiencing a drug-related overdose” can be found on the Massachusetts Legislature General Laws website.

Prescribe to Prevent: Compilation of resources and information about naloxone rescue kits to help health care providers educate their patients to reduce overdose risk and provide rescue kits for patients.

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