Alliance Emergency Services

Emergency Services for the people by the people

Narcan – Restarting your breath when you take it away

In this day and age, we are on the unfortunate rise of Opiate related overdoses. The public news in the last few years has been making light of a subject that has been in the dark for a long time.  With the growth of overdose related deaths with the Center for Disease Control  reported the total deaths for 2014 to be more than 28,000. This crisis has arised a response on a federal level to enable emergency responders the ability to “restart” a patient who has overdosed on an Opiate and has a suppressed respiratory efforts.

Opiates, beyond making a person “feel good” blocks receptors in the brain and the body usually associated with pain, in which molecules that allow the brain to function causing functions like breathing to become suppressed and eventually death. The problem related to opiate related deaths despite the public image of a “junkie” with the needle in the arm, however this is not the case. With the count of distribution of prescription painkillers on the increase of 4x between 1999 to 2013; home, and healthcare center based overdoses are now included in the number of overdose occurrences.

In the home, nursing home, rehab centers, hospitals, or under the local underpass an overdose can occur at any time. We seldom hear of the cases that involve the homes, & nursing centers, but despite the lack of attention these occurrence are more common than the standard drug addicts. Due to the variety of routes that opiates can take IE pills, injections, inhalants, and patches the methods of delivery into the body, cases like nursing related Fentanyl patch related overdose in which a time delivered dose patch is failed to be removed from the body of a patient has become of some regularity.

In response to this epidemic, new laws both State and Federal, with approval of the FDA allow emergency responders to carry and to be administered in evidence supported events.  The need for immediate action upon first contact now allows for use of a kit which consists of an (atomizer attachment, and blunt syringe with dose of narcan). When signs of life are then detected and upon an EMS and scene assessment suggests the treatment of narcan of the full dosage designated. It is critical that qualifying patients that are truly having this level of emergency, be treated and transferred to the appropriate care center.

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