New report shows increasing trend of EMS-administered naloxone for overdoses

August 10, 2018 by Marti Leitch, The Ohio State University

A study conducted by researchers with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS shows a significant increase in EMS administration of naloxone during a recent five-year period. Naloxone is a life-saving drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The report, published in today's CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, states the rate of EMS naloxone administration events increased by 75.1 percent from 2012 to 2016. That mirrors the nearly 80 percent increase in deaths in the U.S. during the same time.

"We saw a consistent increase in events across all age groups over the five years. We also found evidence that people aged 25-34 years are most affected. They had the highest amount of both naloxone administrations by EMS and deaths," said Rebecca Cash, a research fellow at the National Registry and a doctoral student in The Ohio State University College of Public Health.

Researchers used data from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) and compared it with overdose death rates from the National Vital Statistics System. Over 10,000 EMS agencies and 49 U.S. states and territories contribute patient care data to NEMSIS. When analyzing the data, the researchers defined an EMS-administered naloxone event as treating the patient with one dose of the drug during medical care.

"Beyond the actual increase in opioid overdoses, this study suggests that EMS providers are increasingly more likely to treat with naloxone in borderline cases," Cash said.

The researchers noted another previously undescribed trend. Both administrations of naloxone by EMS and overdose deaths among people aged 25-34 increased sharply and surpassed those in the 45-54 age group during the five year span they studied.

"While it's difficult to tell from the data, it's possible this is due to increased efforts to control misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers. At the same time, use of illegal opioids such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl has increased and is associated with younger age groups," said Dr. Ashish Panchal, emergency medicine expert at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and research director with the National Registry.

The researchers also highlight the importance of EMS providers and their patient information in contributing to a more complete evaluation of the opioid overdose problem in the U.S.

"This report can help EMS, health care organizations and communities understand the burden of injury in the opioid overdose epidemic. They can benchmark performance over time and compare with national averages," Panchal said. "This data can also assist in the development of more timely emergency response interventions, more administrations in suspected drug overdoses and referral to drug treatment and care coordination."

Explore further: Overdose antidote promotes stroke recovery in rats

More information: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/index.html

Related Stories

Overdose antidote promotes stroke recovery in rats

April 16, 2018
The life-saving drug used to treat opioid overdose, naloxone, reduces brain inflammation in the aftermath of stroke in male rats. The preclinical research, published in eNeuro, lays the groundwork for developing the first ...

US surgeon general urges Americans to carry opioid antidote

April 5, 2018
The top US doctor on Thursday urged more Americans to carry naloxone, an antidote to opioid overdose, as the nation grapples with a surge in deaths due to potent prescription painkillers and heroin.

How to obtain and use the 'angel' therapeutic Naloxone

July 18, 2017
It's a terrifying scenario that's become all-too-real in the age of the opioid epidemic: a person lying lifeless, not breathing, because of an opioid overdose.

Let's talk about Rx use—recognizing and reversing an overdose

March 23, 2018
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the misuse of and addiction to opioids is a serious national crisis, with more than 115 Americans dying from opioid overdose every day. Knowing how to prevent and recognize ...

Access to naloxone eased in Louisiana, Utah

February 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Health officials in Utah and Louisiana have issued orders to make naloxone more widely available in an effort to prevent overdose deaths, according to a report from the American Medical Association.

Lessons learned from an overdose outbreak

February 3, 2017
Last summer, within eight hours, 12 patients were brought to the emergency department at Yale New Haven Hospital with signs of drug overdose. They had been exposed to toxic doses of fentanyl, a highly potent opioid 50 times ...

Recommended for you

Shortcut strategy for screening compounds with clinical potentials for drug development

December 4, 2018
Developing a new drug often takes years and costs hundreds of millions of dollars. A shortcut has now been reported in a study led by City University of Hong Kong (CityU), which can potentially reduce the time and costs of ...

Drug wholesalers drove fentanyl's deadly rise, report concludes

December 4, 2018
Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid implicated in nearly 29,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year, most likely spread because of heroin and prescription pill shortages, and also because it was cheaper for drug ...

Global review reports on administration of children's antibiotics

December 4, 2018
Researchers analyzing the sales of oral antibiotics for children in 70 high- and middle-income countries found that consumption varies widely from country to country with little correlation between countries' wealth and the ...

Opioid prescriptions from dentists linked to youth addiction risk

December 3, 2018
Teens and young adults who receive their initial opioid prescriptions from their dentists or oral surgeons are at increased risk for opioid addiction in the following year, a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine ...

Rise in meth and opioid use during pregnancy

November 29, 2018
Amphetamine and opioid use in pregnancy increased substantially over the last decade in the United States, a new Michigan Medicine-led study finds. And a disproportionate rise occurred in rural counties.

Mouse model aids study of immunomodulation

November 19, 2018
Because mice do not respond to immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), preclinical therapeutic and safety studies of the effects of IMiDs have not been possible in existing types of mice. This has led to an inability to accurately ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.