Health Care

Health system distributing antidote for opioid overdoses

July 10, 2017
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Metro Health Narcan kit
The kit gives people a three-step process to use Narcan, an antidote for an opioid overdose. Courtesy Metro Health - U-M Health

A health system in the area has begun providing a life-saving medicine to patients discharged after an opioid overdose, free of charge.

Wyoming-based Metro Health - University of Michigan Health said today it will now give away Narcan, or naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids and can reverse an accidental or intentional overdose.

The drug will be distributed in a nasal spray form. Each Narcan kit includes two doses of the spray, instructions for use, how to recognize an overdose, how to initiate emergency response and additional information on community resources.

Dr. Marc Afman of Metro Health said if a patient has already suffered an overdose, they’re more likely to experience a second, potentially fatal overdose, proving a need to provide an emergency treatment kit.

“An overdose can happen to anyone,” Afman said. “By distributing these kits, we are helping to save lives by providing education, community resources and Narcan, an antidote for opioids.”

In distributing Narcan kits, the hospital can eliminate the need for patients to go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription, educate patients and caregivers on the proper use of the medication and alleviate the financial aspect of obtaining the emergency kit.

“The focus of this program is to be proactive and do what we can to curb the spread of this health epidemic,” Metro Health President and CEO Michael Faas said. 

The kits are funded by a grant from the Metro Health Hospital Foundation.

More than 33,000 people died from opioid use in 2015, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which also reports nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.

Metro Health’s emergency department treated 190 actual or potentially opioid-related overdoses in 2015.

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