News on opioid overdoses and prescription and illegal opioid abuse is staggering. Roughly 50 Americans die of an opioid overdose every day. In March, President Obama unveiled a proposal to increase funding to provide the much needed help for those who are addicted.
Part of this new program will increase access and availability to the opioid reversal medication called, Naloxone. This medication can help reduce overdose fatalities. Naloxone is currently available by prescription only (Evzio auto-injector and Narcan nasal spray) for patients or families to use in the event of an overdose. Naloxone can be prescribed to patients taking high doses of opioids for chronic pain that are not addicted, but are concerned for their safety and/or the safety of those close to them in the event of an accidental overdose.
All states, except for Missouri, have prescription drug monitoring programs (PMDPs) in place that help pharmacists identify abuse patterns and curtail diversion. Pharmacists in several states are being given the authorization to fill Naloxone without a prescription. Pharmacists can also assist patients that are interested in tapering down or off their prescription opioids. Other medications as well as non-pharmaceutical options are available that can help reduce the need for opioids.
To read more about the President’s proposal click on the following link: www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/03/29/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-additional-actions-address
For more information about opioid epidemic check out the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
To get treatment for opioid addiction call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)