The United States Surgeon General issued a rare Advisory promoting the availability and use of naloxone for opioid overdose to the general public. The Surgeon General cites research showing naloxone availability and overdose education decreases overdose deaths in communities.
This is just the latest move pushing the availability of the overdose treatment drug. Many first responders now carry naloxone to treat opioid patients or occasionally fellow first responders who have come into contact with fentanyl. However, this advisory focuses on naloxone availability and education to the general public.
Responding EMS and law enforcement officers should be aware that there are FDA approved naloxone products available through a prescription and it is possible a person overdosing has already been treated with naloxone before help arrives. It’s important to find out if the person has been treated as multiple doses are sometimes (but not always) needed and it should be noted in incident records.
For more information on first responder use of naloxone, see “Preparing for Naloxone Distribution: Resource for First Responders and Other” PDF, 119 KB and list of naloxone resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).