Overdose Prevention

Dear Friends and Advocates,

I am writing as a follow up to discussions and prior communications about overdose prevention. ONDCP released an announcement to the medical community, which has been linked HERE, discussing how opioid overdoses are preventable.

The ONDCP announcement also provides a toll-free number which can be used by any individual with regard to accessing treatment and other assistance for their opioid addiction. It also discusses the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and gives access to a pocket file which is easily downloaded. It also discusses the disposal of unused medicines in addition to the DEA hosting a national take back day on April 26, 2014.

Finally, it provides a guide on how to prevent opioid deaths in the community and this is extremely helpful as well.
SAMHSA published the Opioid Overdose Toolkit during 2013, providing guidance and recommendations for overdose prevention strategies and the use of naloxone. You can find this document at: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Opioid-Overdose-Prevention-Toolkit/SMA13-4742. OTPs should work with their clinical teams and State Opioid Treatment Authorities and use this information to reduce patient risk of overdose, particularly in higher risk phases of treatment such as the induction period, prior to discharge from MAT, or periods of instability. Naloxone, the antidote to acute opioid overdose should be a component of these strategies where appropriate. I also understand that SAMHSA recently determined that states may use block grant funds for overdose prevention education in addition to purchasing and distributing Naloxone. You are encouraged to contact Robert Lubran at SAMHSA if you have any questions about this opportunity (Robert.Lubran@samhsa.hhs.gov).

The American Society of Addiction Medicine recently released its recommendations with regard to “Safe Methadone Induction and Stabilization”. The physicians who were involved in writing the report are extremely knowledgeable and have worked in our field of addiction treatment for many years. They have written extensively on this topic, in addition to being respected medical directors of OTPs. They have presented at our conferences and offered clinical training courses as well. I advise you to read this report. SAMHSA funded this project and I am grateful to our associates in the American Society of Addiction Medicine for being so helpful in developing clear and supportive guidelines for our patients, especially as they are admitted to treatment.

OTPs need to do all that they can to ensure the safety of our patients. We have already developed guidelines for how OTPs can check PMP databases during the course of patients’ treatment. This is an opportunity to remind you to access these databases and to read the AATOD Guidelines, which are located in the policy section of our website.

I am very grateful for ONDCP’s leadership, in addition to SAMHSA’s leadership, in addressing these public health issues.


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