We recently talked about the standing orders and third-party prescriptions. These make naloxone available at pharmacy counters without a patient-specific prescription. Now, let’s talk about programs that not only make naloxone available but also teach people how to use it correctly. The instances of opioid overdose have made these programs very valuable.
MY EXPERIENCE IN NEW YORK CITY
I’m a resident of New York City. The Department of Health here has built a supportive program for those who might need to obtain naloxone. The program includes information on
- Where to find participating pharmacies and community based programs
- How to purchase the medication (along with copay assistance opportunities)
- How to access the medication for free
- Virtual training sessions for the use of the medication
I attended a live naloxone training event hosted by Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. There, I was given one-on-one training on what naloxone is, how it works, and how to use the nasal spray applicators. I was also introduced to their REACH program. REACH is a primary care clinic focused on harm reduction for users of alcohol and other drugs, and individuals with hepatitis C (HCV) infection.
SOME OF WHAT I LEARNED FROM REACH
- Naloxone only works to counteract opioids and otherwise has no effects
- Signs of opioid overdose include unresponsiveness, slow or stopped breathing, blue/gray/white lips or fingernails, snoring or gurgling sounds
- Naloxone does not replace the need to call 911
- The danger of opioids is that they can slow or stop breathing
- ANYONE who needs naloxone can get it at participating pharmacies
A survey to better understand public awareness
Patients rising has built a project, the goal of which is to measure public understanding of standing orders. To do this, we have developed an 8-question survey-tool. We will distribute this to various populations known to live with chronic pain or to utilize opioids in pain management.
If you are interested in taking this survey, please complete the fields below and submit it. This registration ensures there are no “bots” or “false entries” to the survey. The results of the survey will be confidential. Once each individual survey is verified, any identifying information will be permanently disconnected from the results, making results anonymous.
Jim Sliney Jr is the director of patient outreach at Patients Rising. A native of the Bronx, New York, Jim attended Columbia University where he earned a degree in Creative Writing. He also served as a consultant in the school’s Writing Center, where he learned to work closely with writers of all skill levels. He has a strong background in clinical research and has worked with patients extensively in hands-on clinical settings as a Registered Medical Assistant. His experience writing for numerous nonprofits and serving as an editor for a boutique publishing company round out his expertise in narrative medicine.