Opioid Overdose & Naloxone Rescue Kits- Pharmacy Technician
Fatal drug overdoses, due to both illicit and prescription drug use, have become epidemic in the United States (US). The rate exceeds that of deaths from motor vehicle accidents, largely due to the increase in prescription opioid overdoses.1 In 2013, about 16,000 deaths occurred from prescription opioid overdoses, accounting for more than half of all prescription drug overdose deaths.2 Multiple substances (eg, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other sedating drugs) often contribute to these overdose deaths. Many opioid overdoses occur in patients with legitimate opioid prescriptions who have identifiable risk factors (see Table 1). This issue provides historical background about the opioid overdose epidemic, followed by information about naloxone – a mu opioid receptor antagonist that is indicated for the treatment of respiratory and/or central nervous system (CNS) depression due to opioid overdose. The information includes a discussion of emerging Opioid Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) programs which enable pharmacists to identify overdose risks; educate prescribers, patients, and family members or caregivers about overdose risks; and dispense, distribute, or even prescribe naloxone kits for bystander administration in the event of an opioid overdose. Community practitioners, including pharmacists, are in an opportune position to identify at-risk patients, remind prescribers about individual patient's risks, provide OEND to patients and their family members, friends, and caregivers; and, potentially, reduce deaths associated with opioid medications...