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Overdose education, bystander nasal naloxone rescue kits associated with decreased opioid overdose death
Date:2/1/2013

(Boston) In a study of communities in Massachusetts with high numbers of opioid overdose deaths, the implementation of overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) was associated with a significant reduction in opioid overdose death rates. Led by researchers at Boston Medical Center (BMC), Boston University Schools of Medicine (BUSM) and Public Health (BUSPH) in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), this study provides observational evidence that OEND is an effective public health intervention to address the epidemic of fatal opioid overdose.

Opioids include substances such as heroin and prescription pain relievers, namely hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, morphine and fentanyl. The rate of opioid overdose continues to rise and is a major cause of preventable death. Opioid related overdose deaths have exceeded the number of motor vehicle deaths each year since 2005 in Massachusetts and are the leading cause of injury death in the commonwealth.

OEND is an innovative, community-based intervention that educates people at risk for overdose and potential bystanders on how to prevent, recognize and respond to an overdose. It also equips these individuals with a naloxone rescue kit. Naloxone, which may be administered by injection or by nasal spray, is a safe and effective antidote that reverses the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose.

Between 2006 and 2009 in 19 communities with a high prevalence of opioid overdose deaths, Massachusetts OEND programs organized, funded and supported by MDPH trained 2,912 potential bystanders who reported 327 rescues. After adjusting for community level factors, including the use of addiction treatment and doctor shopping for prescription opioids, communities with low levels of OEND training had 27 percent lower opioid overdose death rates and communities with high levels of OEND training h
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Contact: Jenny Eriksen Leary
jenny.eriksen@bmc.org
617-638-6841
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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