Intermountain Primary Children's pharmacy expert explains how opioid risk can extend to anyone in a household, whether or not they are taking a prescription.
(PRUnderground) July 20th, 2022
Anyone taking an opioid is at risk of opioid overdose, even when taking them as prescribed, said Nick Weaver, pharmacy team lead at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. Opioid medications in a house can also pose an accidental overdose risk to children.
For people with opioid prescriptions, naloxone is a critical part of a first-aid kit to save a life – including their own infant or toddler.
“Having naloxone in the house is critical to anyone who has been prescribed opioids – especially when children live in the home,” Weaver said. “A child who accidentally ingests an opioid can easily overdose and die from the injury. Naloxone can reverse the effect and save a little one’s life if used in a timely manner.”
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an opioid-reversal medication. It restores normal breathing and consciousness within minutes, and can prevent brain damage due to lack of oxygen or even death. It comes as an injection or a nasal spray, and the same dosage amount can be used for adult or a child.
Even after giving naloxone to a child, it’s important to get the child to the emergency room for care, Weaver said.
As part of efforts to reduce opioid overdose and deaths, Intermountain Healthcare is working to ensure patients with an opioid prescription also have a naloxone prescription. This goal is in collaboration with Utah Naloxone, a not-for-profit advocacy group that has been working to get the message about the importance of naloxone for over a decade.
Utah Naloxone is led by Dr. Jennifer Plumb, who is also a physician for University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
Intermountain Healthcare also is working to drastically reduce the number of opioid tablets given for pain, and to educate providers and the public in partnership with groups including the Utah Department of Health and Human Services and Know Your Script.
It’s important if you have expired or unused medications, opioids or any other kinds, to dispose of them safely. There is a drop box at the Primary Children’s Hospital pharmacy and many other drop boxes are scattered throughout the state. KnowYourScript.org has a locator.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Based in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,800 employed physicians and advanced practice providers, a health plans division with more than one million members called SelectHealth, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare.
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