HRC Blog2021-06-09T00:21:36+00:00

What Is Narcan and How Does It Stop Opioid Overdoses?

What Is Narcan and How Does It Stop Opioid Overdoses? A kit containing naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote that the surgeon general is advising more Americans to keep nearby.CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times By Elizabeth Dias and Annie Correal April 6, 2018 The United States surgeon general issued a rare national advisory on Thursday urging more Americans to carry naloxone, a drug used to revive people overdosing on opioids. The last time a surgeon general issued such an urgent warning to the country was in 2005, when Richard H. Carmona advised women not to drink alcohol when pregnant. What is naloxone? Naloxone is a medication designed to immediately reverse an opioid overdose. It blocks the brain’s opioid receptors and restores normal breathing in people who have overdosed on fentanyl, heroin or prescription painkillers. Its effects last for 30 to 90 minutes, which ideally buys enough time to get medical attention. Who should carry the drug? “Active drug users, people who live with or love drug users, and people on methadone or buprenorphine, who are often coming out of treatment and know people at high risk of overdose,” said Robert Childs, executive director of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition in Wilmington, N.C. The surgeon general also listed patients who take high doses of prescribed opioids. People who are coming out of prison or detox programs should carry the drug, because detox lowers tolerance, Mr. Childs said. Those who work in places where there are public bathrooms or where drug users congregate, such as [...]

The New York Times: Opioid Epidemic Isn’t Slowing

Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017 Fentanyl is a big culprit, but there are also encouraging signs from states that have prioritized public health campaigns and addiction treatment. By Margot Sanger-Katz Aug. 15, 2018 Drug overdoses killed about 72,000 Americans last year, a record number that reflects a rise of around 10 percent, according to new preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. The death toll is higher than the peak yearly death totals from H.I.V., car crashes or gun deaths. Analysts pointed to two major reasons for the increase: A growing number of Americans are using opioids, and drugs are becoming more deadly. It is the second factor that most likely explains the bulk of the increased number of overdoses last year. The picture is not equally bleak everywhere. In parts of New England, where a more dangerous drug supply arrived early, the number of overdoses has begun to fall. That was the case in Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island; each state has had major public health campaigns and has increased addiction treatment. Preliminary 2018 numbers from Massachusetts suggest that the death rate there may be continuing to fall. But nationwide, the crisis worsened in the first year of the Trump presidency, a continuation of a long-term trend. During 2017, the president declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, and states began tapping a $1 billion grant program to help fight the problem. “Because it’s a drug epidemic as opposed to an [...]

Report: Harm reduction restrictions helped fuel HIV outbreak

Report: Harm reduction restrictions helped fuel HIV outbreak By TAYLOR STUCK The Herald-Dispatch tstuck@hdmediallc.com HUNTINGTON — Access to HIV prevention and testing was limited in Cabell County prior to the HIV outbreak even with the county’s harm reduction program due to stricter requirements placed on the program in 2018, says a new report on the outbreak published Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak of HIV was identified by West Virginia’s Bureau for Public Health in January 2019. Though Cabell County had historically high rates of substance use disorder, it had low rates of HIV. From 2013-17, an annual average of two diagnoses of HIV infection had occurred among residents who inject drugs; however, in 2018, 14 diagnoses occurred, including seven in the final part of the year. “Initial investigation found that at the time this increase in diagnoses of HIV infection was detected, access to HIV testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in Cabell County was limited,” the report reads. “Although a harm reduction program, including access to sterile syringes, had been operating at (the Cabell-Huntington Health Department) since September 2015, stricter requirements, including proof of Cabell County residency, were initiated in May 2018, which limited access to these services.” The report found knowledge about HIV, the outbreak and treatment for substance use disorder was low, and initiation of treatment for HIV or substance use disorder among individuals who inject drugs was also low Dr. Michael Kilkenny, medical director of the health department and co-author of the [...]

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