SAMHSA Updates Toolkit to Help Prevent Opioid Deaths

The toolkit recommends that naloxone be made available to first responders and others who might respond to a possible overdose.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced June 11 that it has published an update to its Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit, which is designed to help health care providers, families, and other members of the community prevent opioid overdose deaths. The toolkit addresses several factors that can lead to an opioid overdose death, from intentional misuse to accidental over-medication, and recommends that health care providers follow guidelines from CDC when considering prescribing opioids.

The toolkit also discusses when and how to use naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. In certain cases, health care providers may need to consider prescribing naloxone along with an opioid prescription, and the toolkit recommends that naloxone be made available to first responders and others who might respond to a possible overdose.

The toolkit presents five strategies:

  • Encourage health care providers, people at high risk for overdose, family members, and others to learn how to prevent and manage opioid overdoses.
  • Ensure access to treatment for people who are misusing opioids or who have a substance use disorder.
  • Ensure ready access to naloxone.
  • Encourage people to call 911 in the event of a possible overdose.
  • Encourage health care providers to use prescription drug monitoring programs to prevent over-prescribing of opioids.

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