Many People Treated for Opioid Overdose in Emergency Departments Die Within 1 Year

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

This study reported:

  • About 1 in 20 patients treated for a nonfatal opioid overdose in an emergency department died within 1 year of their visit, many within 2 days.
  • Two-thirds of these deaths were directly attributed to subsequent opioid-related overdoses.
  • Immediate treatment for substance use disorder in the ED that continues after discharge is needed to reduce opioid-related deaths.

> Read the article

Citation: NIDA. (2020, April 2). Many People Treated for Opioid Overdose in Emergency Departments Die Within 1 Year. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2020/04/many-people-treated-opioid-overdose-in-emergency-departments-die-within-1-year on 2020, June 10

> Learn more:
www.drugabuse.gov

NIDA director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic

The precarious intersection of the COVID-19 national health emergency and the concurrent epidemic of drug overdose deaths is outlined in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Volkow discusses how the serious health risks of COVID-19 pose unique challenges to people who smoke or vape, are already struggling with substance use disorders (SUD), or are in recovery from addiction.
 
People recovering from addiction now face new challenges. Physical distancing measures, while critical to COVID-19 mitigation, eliminate the important element of social support needed for addiction recovery. Additionally, people with opioid use disorder may face barriers to obtaining medications (i.e., buprenorphine or methadone) or obtaining services from syringe services programs. Social distancing will also decrease the likelihood of observed overdoses; administration of naloxone to reverse overdose may be less likely, potentially resulting in more fatalities.

> Read the announcement

NIDA. (2020, April 2). NIDA Director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2020/04/nida-director-outlines-potential-risks-to-people-who-smoke-use-drugs-during-covid-19-pandemic on 2020, April 2

Opioid Withdrawal Raises Health Risks for Injection Drug Users: Study

Health Day, March 23, 2020
Having opioid withdrawal symptoms increases the odds that injection drug users will share needles or have a non-fatal overdose, new research suggests. For the study, the researchers questioned more than 800 injection drug users in San Francisco and Los Angeles. "Withdrawal is one of the main chronic health challenges for this population, and we need to be intervening on it," said lead author Ricky Bluthenthal. He's associate dean for social justice at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, in Los Angeles. An average 130 people a day die in the United States from an opioid overdose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Needle sharing increases a person's risk of infections such as HIV and hepatitis, as well as other serious health problems, the CDC says.

> Read the article

Armed with overdose drug Narcan, Oxnard police aim to reduce opioid fatalities

Ventura County Star, January 10, 2020

Public safety personnel locally and nationwide have seen a dramatic increase in drug overdose calls in recent years. In 2018, Oxnard police responded to 190 overdose calls, or nearly four per week. The Oxnard Police Department has responded to the opioid epidemic by training officers to administer an overdose-reversal drug and changing the protocol for logging overdose calls. In early 2018, the department began equipping officers with naloxone, also known as Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Today, 150 officers are equipped with naloxone kits, Cmdr. Sharon Giles said Tuesday in a report to the City Council.
“If you have someone that you believe is suffering from drug dependency and has overdosed, this goes into the nostril, a couple pumps and it’s administered,” Giles told the council while showing the nasal spray. In 2018, 19 of the 96 opioid-related deaths in Ventura County were in Oxnard. Figures for 2019 were not yet available, but Giles said she expects the number will be lower due to naloxone. 2019 was the first full year in which officers were equipped with naloxone. Officers used the nasal spray nine times.

> Read the Story, Ventura County Star
> See the Video "Oxnard Police Respond to the Opioid Epidemic in Ventura County"

Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Saves Life from Overdose

On November 21, 2019, Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of a 35-year-old male not breathing. A Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy was the first emergency personnel to arrive on scene. He determined the victim was suffering from an opioid overdose and immediately administered Naloxone (Narcan). Moments later, the victim began breathing on his own and he was subsequently transported to a local hospital for further treatment. This was the first victim saved with the administration of Naloxone by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to other law enforcement agencies in the county, the Sheriff’s Office began deploying Naloxone kits in every patrol vehicle. The Sheriff’s Office began equipping patrol vehicles with Naloxone kits in August of 2019. Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office continues to support prevention and intervention strategies to decrease the misuse of prescription pain medications as well as the abuse of heroin. The Sheriff’s Office requests that individuals promptly call 9-1-1 at the first signs someone may be overdosing or having a medical emergency. Law enforcement will not arrest individuals for being under the influence or possessing drugs who call for help or are experiencing an overdose. Naloxone kits are available to the public through Ventura County Behavioral Health.

AMA's "Opioid Task Force 2019 Progress Report”

The AMA Opioid Task Force urges physicians and other health care professions to continue taking action to help reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic, and the Task Force also calls on policymakers to take specific steps to remove barriers to evidence-based care for patients with pain and those with a substance use disorder. The 2019 progress report highlights physician action and the immediate need for policymakers to focus on removing barriers to evidence-based treatment.

  • America’s physicians are using state prescription drug monitoring programs more than ever.
  • The AMA Opioid Task Force encourages all physicians to enhance their education.
  • The AMA Opioid Task Force urges expanded access to Naloxone.

> Download the Report

Countdown to the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, April 22-25, 2019, Atlanta, GA



The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, treatment providers, and allied communities impacted by prescription drug abuse and heroin use. It is the event for decision makers and allied professionals working to address this public health emergency. The Summit is now the annual gathering for stakeholders to discuss what’s working in prevention and treatment. This year Ventura County Behavioral Health will be presenting on “Saving Lives: Ventura County’s Overdose Prevention Program.” Presenters include Loretta Denering, DrPH, MS, Chief, Alcohol and Drug Programs Division, Kristen Donovan, PhD, Evalcorp, Research & Consulting, Daniel Hicks, Manager, Prevention Services, and Ashley Nettles, Overdose Prevention Program.  

The Overdose Prevention Program was designed to address the opioid epidemic locally by providing response training and naloxone kits to individuals with an elevated risk of experiencing an overdose or those likely to come into contact with someone who may experience overdose. The program provides overdose education to substance users, their families and key public agencies, to generate actionable data. The program launched in 2014 through the county’s Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup to reduce opioid-related deaths at a local level. Core components of the program include overdose prevention, recognition, and response education, as well as kit tracking and utilization data.

As of February 2019, over 3,020 Overdose Rescue Kits have been distributed countywide, and 563 lives saved!

We look forward to networking and sharing our Ventura County experiences on a national platform, and gaining new ideas and momentum to continue our good work.

If you are at the Summit, come see us at our presentation "Saving Lives: Ventura County’s Overdose Prevention Program" on Tuesday, April 23, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM!

> Read more about the Overdose Prevention Program

> Read about the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose. Urges more individuals to carry life-saving medication.

"I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. For patients currently taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain, individuals misusing prescription opioids, individuals using illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose, knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life." Read the Media Advisory



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