FRIDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Teaching people how to recognize and respond to prescription painkiller overdoses could significantly reduce the number of overdose deaths, a new study suggests.
Overdoses of these powerful opioid drugs are a major cause of emergency hospital admissions and preventable deaths in many countries. Opioids include hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet), morphine and codeine.
Since 2005, Massachusetts has had more opioid-related overdose deaths than motor vehicle deaths, so the state introduced several strategies to tackle the problem, including training drug users, their families and friends, and potential bystanders to prevent, recognize and respond to opioid overdoses.
The participants in the overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) programs received instruction in how to recognize signs of overdose, seek help, stay with victims and use naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.
In the study, Alexander Walley, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues looked at data from 19 Massachusetts communities that had high levels of opioid overdose and various levels of implementation of OEND programs. Communities with OEND programs had a larger reduction in opioid-related overdose deaths than those without the programs.
The greater the enrollment in OEND programs in communities, the greater the reduction in death rates, according to the study, which was published online Jan. 31 in the journal BMJ.
The findings provide evidence that the programs are an effective way to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths, concluded the team of researchers from the Boston Medical Center, the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
From 1996 to 2010, more than 50,000 people were trained by OEND programs in the United States, resulting in more than 10,000 opioid overdose rescues, according to background information included in a journal news release.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about opioids.
SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Jan. 31, 2013
be well, feel better
In the dregs of winter it's easy to get down. So we reached out to Keri Glassman, nutritionist and author of The New You and Improved Diet, for some tips on how to keep those blues at bay.
Eat more and get slimmer (we promise!) by shopping from this list of truly satisfying, cravings-curbing foods.
How to fight colds, heartburn, joint pain, allergies, and other ailments by choosing the right food.
Arsenic in rice! Toxins in salmon! GMOs everywhere! Before you freak, find out which scares are worth your worry.
Feeling tired more often than not? Girl, we feel you: A study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that women are typically more exhausted than men. (Running the world takes it out of you.) So we asked Shilpi Agarwal, MD, and Equinox group fitness manager Jenn Hogg for eight ways to stay alert throughout the day.
If you have more than a few drinks a week, the calories start to add up fast. Slim your drink order with this expert advice.
Turn up your body's fat burn with these healthy foods.
Want to cozy up to better health this winter? First, shake off these common cold-weather health myths.