Naloxone Policy Guidelines

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According to the CDC, nearly 72,000 individuals died as a result of a drug overdose in 2017. More than 49,000 of these deaths were the result of opioid drugs. Naloxone (brand name: Narcan) is a life-saving drug that can, in many cases, revive overdose victims by restoring their ability to breathe. It has been used successfully in situations where individuals overdosed on opioid drugs such as heroin and prescription drugs such as OxyContin, oxycodone and fentanyl.

In order to be effective, naloxone must be administered as soon as possible after an overdose. As a result, many states and localities have started allowing people without other medical training (“lay persons”) to receive training to administer naloxone. If your community has been suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic and your state permits it, your organization may want to consider keeping naloxone on site and having staff trained in how to properly administer it when needed.

If you chose to maintain a supply of and/or administer naloxone in your facility, there are a few things to consider:

  1. All staff who are deemed appropriate responders, must be trained in the administration of naloxone.
    a. That training should involve not only how to administer naloxone, but also how to identify situations where it should be used.
    b. Follow your state(s) guidelines for training your staff in the administration of naloxone. In order to determine the guidelines for your locality, you can check: your local or state health code or your local police department, EMTs or fire department.
    c. We recommend partnering with local EMS/first responders who use naloxone frequently to help facilitate your training, and guide your efforts regarding appropriate use.
  2. Keep records of completed staff training in personnel files (or similar electronic personnel file management system).
  3. Store naloxone in a secure place in your facility and in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and state/local code requirements.
  4. If available, stock and train using naloxone nasal spray to limit potential exposure to a needle stick.
  5. Record the expiration of the supply kept in your facility, and institute a monthly or weekly inspection to ensure your supply is always up to date.

If your team identifies a situation that requires naloxone administration in your facility or at one of your program sites:

  1. Call 911 immediately and implement your emergency action plan for medical events.
  2. Administer the naloxone according to appropriate training and guidelines.
  3. Continue to monitor and provide additional first aid (if, needed) for the individual until EMS arrives.
  4. Complete an incident report and submit to Redwoods Group/your insurance carrier.

Additional Guidance:

  • Offer information regarding opioid abuse and where individuals in the community can receive help if they or a family member is struggling with opioid addiction. Find “conversation starters” and other handouts at Partnerships for Drug-Free Kids. Some resources from National institute on Drug abuse: Heroin, Prescription Drugs
  • Partner with local substance abuse providers to host forums and community meetings. To educate your members and community on opioid abuse and its long-term effects on an individual and community health.

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