Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Overdose drug available for families of addicts

Seems to be a very humane law, even though it is controversial.

From the 20 November 2013 edition of The Oklahoman

Oklahoma House Bill 1782 allows a medical provider to prescribe naloxone to a family member of someone who has a chance of overdosing. The drug helps restart breathing of someone who has overdosed.

Gail Box said she knows it can be difficult for parents to have conversations with their children about drug use.

But parents should consider talking to their children and also carrying naloxone if they think it could help save their children’s lives, she said.

“I wish, if I could go back, I would try to act on those feelings that I had at that time,” she said. “You can tell me anything you want, but I will always shoulder a great deal of guilt as a result of what happened to my son because as a parent, as a mother, it’s my job to protect him, and I didn’t.”

….

“There are people who have complete unintentional overdose who think they’re taking the right amount of pain medication, or they legitimately have a prescription but it’s not working so they take a little bit more,” White said. “This can also be critical in saving lives of people who are trying to use their pain medication appropriately.”

 

The law comes at a time when Oklahoma continues to see high rates of prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths.

Oklahoma ranks among the top five states with the highest rate of prescription overdose deaths. And prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest growing types of drug abuse in the state.

Prescription drug overdoses kill more people in Oklahoma than car accidents.

Oklahoma leaders plan to release the state’s strategy for combating prescription drugs in the next few months.

“It’s really good that we’re addressing this now as opposed to 10 years from now,” White said.

Before House Bill 1782 passed, naloxone was carried on many, if not all, paramedic ambulances and fire engines across Oklahoma, said Dr. Jeffrey Goodloe, the medical director for the emergency medical services system for Oklahoma City and Tulsa metros.

However, the law expands who can administer the drug. That’s where Goodloe’s concern comes in. Goodloe said he’s concerned about whether people who aren’t trained in medicine, such as law enforcement officers, will be able to deliver the drug appropriately.

“The first tenet of medicine … is do no harm, so in the process of helping people, we take an oath not to purposely harm them, and my concern with this bill is that, while its intent is nothing but admirable, the end result is I truly believe we will harm some people in fully executing its authority in the commission of trying to help people,” Goodloe said.

Goodloe said when people are given naloxone, they can wake up into a life-threatening withdrawal situation, suffering from horrific vomiting, extreme sweating and dangerously high heart rate and blood pressure.

Not every person given naloxone will go into this type of withdrawal, he said. However, it does occur.

….

 

November 14, 2013 - Posted by | Public Health | , ,

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