Thursday, June 21, 2012

Normalization of naloxone

There has been a deluge of support for take-home naloxone lately. 

To name just a few (mostly U.S.) developments ...

It seems that overdose death, like fatality from motor vehicle accidents, is finally being recognized as preventable, and naloxone as the seatbelt. 

This is not remotely a comprehensive list of what's happening. Please post other developments, by commenting here or by contacting an editor to publish a more detailed story.

American Medical Association Endorses Naloxone-Based Overdose Prevention as its Official Policy

By Leo Beletsky, Elena Moroz
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A Press Release from the American Medical Association on June 19th, 2012 stated the following on AMA’s new policy on community-based programs offering naloxone to prevent opioid overdoses:

PROMOTING PREVENTION OF FATAL OPIOID OVERDOSE: Opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse places a great burden on patients and society, and the number of fatal poisonings involving opioid analgesics more than tripled between 1999 and 2006. Naloxone is a drug that can be used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose. The AMA today adopted policy to support further implementation of community-based programs that offer naloxone and other opioid overdose prevention services. The policy also encourages education of health care workers and opioid users about the use of naloxone in preventing opioid overdose fatalities.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wanted: Overdose Prevention Tailored to Women

By Leo Beletsky, Elena Moroz
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Over the past 20 years, the overall prevalence of fatal opioid overdose has tripled.  Historically, the risk of overdose among men had been significantly higher; over the last decade, however prevalence of opioid overdose deaths has been increasing faster among women than men. With the gender gap decreasing, women now face a greater risk for opioid drug overdose than ever before.

Women of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds are facing greater risk of overdose from opioid drugs. Recent data sheds light on the role of pregnancy as one the possible channels for increasing opioid dependence, which is a precursor to overdose. In the past, neonatal abstinence syndrome had been documented primarily in underserved urban areas, it is increasingly observed in hospitals across geographical and socioeconomic strata.  However women who live in the South, Midwest and the East appear to be at an elevated risk than those in the West of the United States. Overdose is most common among middle aged women (45-55 years old).