January 2, 2020

Ryan Kelley

An article written by AAC Medical Editor Ryan Kelley, NREMT, was featured in EMS World outlining the ways that EMS personnel can further contribute in decreasing the number of overdose fatalities.

From 2017 to 2018, the number of naloxone prescriptions doubled and the number of overdose deaths dropped slightly compared to the previous year, which can suggest that naloxone is saving more lives.

The use of naloxone simply reverses an overdose and causes the patient to experience withdrawal symptoms that leads them right back to opioids, and the process repeats. To remedy this, a study was conducted in which stabilized patients were turned over to the emergency department, and those who expressed a readiness to cease opioid use, received emergency department-initiated buprenorphine treatment and a referral to primary care for treatment of opioid use disorder. This tandem effort led to the conclusion that buprenorphine initiated in the emergency department “significantly increased engagement in formal addiction treatment and reduced self-reported illicit opioid use.”

With this evidence, as well as the example of NJ paramedics being authorized to carry and administer buprenorphine, Kelley states that paramedics can not only stop deaths, but truly save lives.

To read the rest of the piece, visit EMS World.