Yesterday a local nonprofit working to reduce drug-overdose deaths announced that in the past year 100 North Carolinians have experienced a reversal of overdose—potentially escaping death—through the timely use of naloxone, an opioid antagonist that was made more widely available last August.
The announcement was made by the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, which in 11 months has distributed more than 2,600 overdose prevention kits containing noloxone. The opioid antidote reverses overdoses brought on by drugs such as heroin, methadone and prescription painkillers, which account for the leading cause of drug overdoses in the state.
In April 2013, the General Assembly passed a law that allows community based organizations to distribute naloxone in emergency situations through a doctor's order, and removes civil liabilities from doctors. (Called the Good Samaritan/Naloxone Access law, the law also ensures that 911 callers will not be prosecuted for small amounts of drugs.) People at the scene of an overdose can use an overdose prevention kit to save the life of a friend or family member. Many North Carolina law enforcement and fire departments are considering launching programs to equip first responders with naloxone, according to the coalition.
Law enforcement organizations across the country are seeing favorable results
through the emergency administration of naloxone.
The Harm Reduction Coalition distributes naloxone through a network of staff, consultants and volunteers across the state. For more information on the kits, visit http://www.nchrc.org/program-and-services/overdose-prevention-project/.