RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Naloxone, or Narcan, is a drug used to save someone who has overdosed on opioids. Several grants have allowed for the drug to be distributed statewide. But at least in one case, it is too much of a good thing
Two years ago, Nevada received a grant to educate rural emergency medical technicians, or EMTS, about Naloxone. 500 units were distributed to seven rural counties. To date, hundreds of units are still available and those units have a shelf life.
“Data-driven decisions. Everything we thought would happen didn't,” Chris Marchand, Project ECHO Nevada Director, says of the complication.
Marchand says the training, which provided more than 100 rural EMTs with knowledge and understanding of Naloxone, was highly successful.
Merchand says the data-driven research indicated the 500 units would be used in no time in those communities where the EMTs were trained.
That did not happen.
The problem was, they were not frequently called to respond to emergencies where someone in their community had overdosed on opioids. Rather, friends or family members would transport patients themselves.
Those hundreds of units of Naloxone, ready to expire, have been sent back to the state, which is distributing the drug--mostly to urban areas.
Marchand says the units have been sent to a clinic in southern Nevada.
Northern Nevada Hopes Clinic of Reno also received the Naloxone.
“They are going to be given directly to patients…free of charge,” says Marchand.
Another grant called the Opioid State Targeting Grant worth $5.6 million for two years is being implemented in Nevada. With lessons learned from the rural grant, the state has set up what's called a Virtual Dispensary for Naloxone, where clinics and community organizations can order the medication as needed without going through a lot of red tape.
“Think of it as an online shopping in a way. The people at those organizations can just go on and order the amount they need. And it is always going to be fresh stock. It's not going to be close to expiration, so what that will prevent is doses sitting out there unused, and if any stock gets close to expiring. It can easily be re-distributed amongst the members,” says Marchand.
So far the state of Nevada has received $9,000,000 in federal grants to fight the opioid epidemic here. According to the governor one Nevadan dies every day from opioid overdose.