Opioid Overdose and Naloxone – How to Recognize, React & Revive
Why This Matters
The American public is threatened by the opioid epidemic, there are 192 drug overdose deaths each day. The number of overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids more than doubled from 21,089 in 2010 to 47,600 in 2017. These potent opioids are being mixed with other illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepines.
As a result, today, people are more likely to die from accidental opioid overdoses (1 in 96 odds) than in car crashes (1 in 103 odds).1
What You Should Know
We have reached a critical point of national suffering. It is not just limited to immediate loss of life at the scene. The suffering encompasses victims whose cardiac function remains, yet they are brain dead from lack of an oxygen supply. Current bystander CPR is hands-only chest compressions for an unconscious victim, rescue-breathing has fallen off the algorithm entirely. It takes critical minutes until the police or the EMS squad to arrive, which is a potential missed opportunity for intact survival if a bystander is unprepared. Drug overdose related brain death remains the single greatest increased etiology leading to organ donation over the past twenty years.
There is a dire need and the interest in the community to be prepared to respond to opioid overdoses in the home or in public spaces. The time is overdue to boldly address the critical need to develop policies through multiagency involvement to have naloxone ubiquitously available and rapidly educate the public how to completely rescue an opioid overdose victim.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes — United States Surveillance Special Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Published November 1, 2019. Accessed [02/15/2020] from cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pubs/2019-cdc-drug-surveillance-report.pdf.
“I was an anesthesiologist mother who needed to rescue her opioid overdosing son, which I had successfully done on multiple occasions. I had the education to have naloxone immediately available and CPR skills to achieve the best possible outcome — skills which anyone can learn. Just imagine the emotions felt performing rescue maneuvers on your child, or conversely being unskilled and not knowing what to do until help arrives. Ultimately, on the crest of this wave of opioid destruction, both of my sons succumbed to this addiction. I am not alone in this loss. Tens of thousands of parents have suffered such devastating pain.” - Bonnie Milas, MD
What ASA is Doing For You
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) would like to bring senior leaders from the medical, law enforcement, fire/rescue, and emergency medical services to work together in a coordinated manner to mitigate loss of life and limit injury of opioid overdose through this public initiative.
To develop strategy and tactics for multidisciplinary teams in the innovation and implementation of efficient and effective (patient, care delivery, work, and information) opioid use reduction and liberalization of naloxone use.
Guide and educate public and healthcare providers on implementation processes and resources; assuring that work intersects with other national and regional initiatives.
Educate public and professionals in the identification of opioid overdose and the use of opioid reversal agents as a lifesaving measure.
What You Can Do Now
Actions you can take today
We invite you to join the REVIVEme initiative to reduce opioid and drug related mortality. To ensure public education for detection, and intervention, and tools for rescue are widely available. When implemented in a coordinated fashion, these interventions will help to greatly reduce morbidity and mortality in the U.S. today.
Resource materials for the public and physician use are provided here for free. Make a difference in the campaign to reduce opioid and drug related mortality today!