Last Saturday the ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy Rx Committee collaborated with the Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition to provide opioid overdose training. The training seminar took place at 10 a.m. in Room 103 of VA Campus Building 7. Revolving around the use of the drug Naloxone, the training was provided to the community free of charge.
“The Gatton College of Pharmacy Generation Rx committee has provided Naloxone training all over southwest Virginia and at five out of six Colleges of Pharmacy in Tennessee,” said ETSU Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Dr. Sarah Melton. “This is our first community-based training event in Tennessee. Personally, I have provided Naloxone training for the past three years in Virginia and Tennessee.”
Opioid overdoses tax brain receptors to the point of slowing respiration. Over time, opiate overdoses stop respiration entirely.
Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist that has long been used by EMTs and emergency room doctors. The drug combats opiate overdoses by expelling opiates from the aforementioned brain receptors, allowing the afflicted person to breathe properly again.
Naloxone itself is not dangerous, possessing no notable side effects. With the proper training, it can be given to others or even self-administered without worry.
The epidemic of opioid abuse has been on the rise for some time in Tennessee. In-state deaths from drug overdoses rose from an estimated 1,451 in 2015 to 1,631 in 2016 – an increase of 12 percent. The true death figures are likely even higher. The surge of deaths correlates heavily with the increasing popularity of synthetic opiates.
“Every year, we are told stories about how the Naloxone we provided helped save the life of a family member or friend that had overdosed on opioids,” Melton said. “Unfortunately, we also hear from people that lost love ones to an opioid overdose without knowing about Naloxone or how to obtain it.”
Naloxone is considered a prescription drug. However, many popular pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have begun offering forms of Naloxone over the counter to certain customers, including caregivers, people with opiate prescriptions and others who have a vested interest in combating opiate overdoses. Note that administering Naloxone without training may result in legal liabilities.