Medical News Today - Recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose and what to do (July 19, 2021)
NPR - Drug Overdoses Killed A Record Number Of Americans In 2020, Jumping By Nearly 30% (July 14, 2021)
WBAL TV - Health advocates work to address opioid crisis as overdoses increase amid pandemic (July 15, 2021)
Opioids in the News
Where can I get trained to respond to an overdose?
(Wyoming Department of Health)
Training first responders (firefighters, police officers, and EMTs) and bystanders (family, friends, and others) on recognizing and responding to an opioid overdose is essential. Anyone who uses heroin or opioid medication, especially those who have never used or have not used in a while, can be at risk of an overdose. Find out how you can save a life.
EMTs – See the Office of Emergency Medical Services
Law enforcement – Contact the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police
Other First Responders and Bystanders – Get free online training at https://www.getnaloxonenow.org/#gettraining
How can I get naloxone?
Naloxone is a prescription medication. However, a Wyoming law (Wyoming §§ 35-4-901 through 35-5-906) allows pharmacists to prescribe naloxone to individuals. Anyone can go to a local pharmacy and ask about obtaining naloxone.
First responders may apply to receive grant funding for Narcan® Nasal Spray, currently the only FDA-approved intranasal naloxone. Agencies must obtain a standing order (a prescription from a provider for a group, not an individual) to purchase naloxone. For more information on obtaining a standing order, contact a local medical provider.
To get Narcan® Nasal Spray for your agency or organization through the Wyoming Department of Health, complete the application form. Once your application has been reviewed and funding is available, you will be contacted for more information.
What are opioids?
Opioids include three categories of pain-relieving drugs: (1) natural opioids (also called opiates) which are derived from the opium poppy, such as morphine and codeine; (2) semi-synthetic opioids, such as the prescription drugs hydrocodone and oxycodone and the illicit drug heroin; (3) synthetic opioids, such as methadone, tramadol, and fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl analogues, such as carfentanil, can be 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Overdose deaths from fentanyl have greatly increased since 2013 with the introduction of illicitly-manufactured fentanyl entering the drug supply [CDC 2016b; CDC 2018b]. The National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA 2018] has more information about types of opioids.
- Centers for Disease Control
What is the opioid epidemic?
From 1999–2018, almost 450,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids.
This rise in opioid overdose deaths can be outlined in three distinct waves.
The first wave began with increased prescribing of opioids in the 1990s, with overdose deaths involving prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic opioids and methadone) increasing since at least 1999.
The second wave began in 2010, with rapid increases in overdose deaths involving heroin
The third wave began in 2013, with significant increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, particularly those involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The market for illicitly manufactured fentanyl continues to change, and it can be found in combination with heroin, counterfeit pills, and cocaine.
- Centers for Disease Control
Can an opioid overdose be reversed?
An opioid overdose can be reversed with the drug naloxone when given right away. Improvements have been seen in some regions of the country in the form of decreasing availability of prescription opioid pain relievers and decreasing misuse among the Nation’s teens. However, since 2007, overdose deaths related to heroin have been increasing. Fortunately, effective medications exist to treat opioid use disorders including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
A NIDA study found that once treatment is initiated, both a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended release naltrexone formulation are similarly effective in treating opioid addiction. However, naltrexone requires full detoxification, so initiating treatment among active users was more difficult. These medications help many people recover from opioid addiction.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse