Family’s role crucial in rescuing patients during opioid overdoses

Family’s role crucial in rescuing patients during opioid overdoses

Family is the biggest support system for any individual, binding the loved ones in an inseparable bond, dealing with tough times, amplifying happy times, and offering love and care when one needs the most. A recent study further highlighted the role of the family in saving lives of patients in case of opioid overdoses. This can be made possible due to increased access to an antidote that can reverse the fatal effects of opioids.

The findings, published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review in April 2017, suggest that the family members who were educated about overdoses and administering naloxone helped decrease the number of deaths related to opioid overdoses. Researchers in Massachusetts analyzed people who underwent training in administering naloxone. They found that out of nearly 4,000 rescue attempts, family members used the antidote in about 20 percent cases and almost all the attempts were successful.

Naloxone is a time-tested treatment modality

Dr. Sarah Bagley, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine said, “It is important that anyone who may be around someone at risk for an opioid overdose have access to naloxone.” She reiterated the fact that naloxone is being used since ages to treat opioid overdose patients and has been quite effective in mitigating the harmful effects of opioids.

To provide evidence, the researchers used 2008-2015 data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program with specific attention to those enrolled in training programs related to overdose education and use of naloxone rescue kits.

Dr. Jennifer Plumb, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine found the study valid and useful. She emphasized that it is difficult for the overdose patients to save themselves; therefore, others should extend help to rescue their loved ones from such fatal encounters.

The researchers also highlighted the inability of family members to arrange antidote kits from doctors and pharmacists. This means that the state officials need to find other ways to make available these life-saving kits to the public through social welfare programs and community organizations. The study also stressed upon the need of addressing issues such as stigma associated with mental illnesses and lack of understanding, which acted as roadblocks in implementing these ideas.

The researchers further suggested using online videos in order to train family members. They even supported the possibility of coaching someone over the phone, telling them how to use the kits and what to do in an emergency. Dr. Phillip Coffin, director of substance use research with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, observed that people who possessed the kits and were trained were confident of using them when needed. Coffin also made a point that family members with a history of substance use are often more willing to use the antidote to save the lives of others.

Treatment of substance use

Substance abuse is a serious problem and requires medical assistance to help a person lead a healthier and happier life. Drug treatment is aimed at helping the patient get rid of compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment is provided in different settings and in different forms. The most effective treatment alternatives include behavioral therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), medication or a combination of the two. The treatment type depends upon the severity of symptoms and other associated factors.

The California Drug Addiction Helpline offers help to people struggling with substance use by providing effective information about addiction treatment centers in California that offer personalized treatment to those in need. Call our 24/7 helpline 855-980-1946 or chat online for assistance in finding the top rehab centers in California.