Louisville Medicine Volume 65, Issue 8 - Page 14

FEATURE STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DRUG OVERDOSE DEATH RATE INCREASE FROM 2014 TO 2015, US STATES https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html for up to 36 hours. Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) prevents the high if the addicted person were to use a narcotic; but it will not provide pain relief. Once a person is completely detoxified, maintenance may be achieved with the use of Vivi- trol (Naltrexone) by reducing the urge to use drugs or alcohol. Naltrexone has the advantage of being offered in an injection on a monthly basis. 3. PUBLIC ACCESS TO LIFE-SAVING NALOXONE Hospitals have carried naloxone (Narcan, Evizo) for years to reverse the respiratory depressant effects of narcotics. With the rise of opioid addiction, especially with fentanyl and other highly potent street drugs, the number of deaths from respi- ratory depression has so dramatically escalated that now first responders and police officers generally carry doses of injectable Evizo or intranasal Narcan. Designated family members of known drug addicts are often allowed to keep these drugs for emergencies. Legislation is being sought to make these drugs publicly available in the same fashion as Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are found in public places. Additionally, greater insurance coverage for both pharmaceuticals used in maintenance programs and for naloxone is being sought at both state and federal levels. The control of the current opioid epidemic is not simple. It is not just a physician’s problem. It’s one in which doctors must play a significant role on the educational, prescribing and treatment fronts. 12 LOUISVILLE MEDICINE Dr. James is the Senior Medical Director for Highmark Inc. in Pitts- burgh, PA. References: 1.) Centers for Disease Control, The Opioid Crisis, https://www.cdc.gov/ drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html (Last accessed Nov. 24, 2017) 2.) National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health. Addiction Science. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/addiction-science (Last accessed Nov. 24, 2017) 3.) Maya Salam, The Opioid Epidemic: A crisis years in the making. The New York Times, Oct. 26, 2017 4.) Jena AB, Barnett, Goldman D, How health care providers can help end the over prescription of opioids. Harvard Business Review Oct. 24, 2017 5.) Volkow ND, McLellan T, Opioid abuse in chronic pain — Miscon- ceptions and mitigation strategies. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1253-1263, March 31, 2016.