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January 24, 2019 (Cleveland)

Opioid Consortium to Improve Access to Nasal Naloxone



Opioid Consortium Members Gather for First Joint MeetingThe Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium is moving forward with its work to increase access to nasal naloxone, a critically important tool in the fight to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

An evaluation of nasal naloxone availability in Opioid Consortium member hospitals found that there are opportunities to reduce barriers to naloxone access for at-risk patients, improve naloxone dispensing in both inpatient and outpatient settings, increase the availability of resources and education for patients when naloxone kits or prescriptions are not provided, and provide overdose education and naloxone training for other non-clinical frontline staff at hospitals. 

This evaluation was based on the collection of data in November 2018 from 24 pharmacy managers at five hospital systems related to naloxone dispensing and availability in inpatient and outpatient settings, emergency departments, and retail pharmacies, along with barriers, outreach, and on-campus harm reduction practices. 

Findings included:

  • The most common barriers prohibiting at-risk patients from obtaining nasal naloxone are that patients cannot afford the cost or they do not wish to have this documented in their medical record.
  • A majority of systems dispense kits to patients meeting certain criteria upon discharge from inpatient units. Most commonly, physicians determine whether to dispense naloxone on a case-by-case basis based on the patient’s risk for overdose.
  • The majority of respondents reported that outpatient units do not dispense kits to patients prior to them leaving the facility. There are opportunities to improve both dispensing and the availability of information resources for patients discharged from emergency departments and outpatient units.
  • More than half of respondents reported their security personnel are trained in carrying and administering naloxone if they suspect an accidental, self-induced overdose. 

In February, the Opioid Consortium’s Pharmacy Subcommittee will convene to move forward with an action plan to address the opportunities identified through the assessment.

MORE: For more information about the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium and its work to increase access to nasal naloxone, contact us.

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