Naloxone is an opioid antagonist used to rapidly counteract the central nervous system and respiratory depressant effects of Fentanyl, potentially preventing fatal toxicity. Emergency room personnel play a vital role in the prevention of Fentanyl-related deaths. Many patients in the emergency room may have received a dose of Naloxone from providers in the field. Naloxone, however, has a short half-life compared to Fentanyl. Emergency room personnel need to be aware that patients who have received an initial dose of Naloxone still need continuous assessment of oxygenation and cardiac function and must be assessed for additional needed doses of Naloxone. Further, emergency department protocols concerning level of monitoring, optimal route of Naloxone administration, optimal dosing strategies, and training must be standardized. Right now, hospitals protocols are lacking leading to preventable tragedies like what happened to Billy.
If you would like to get involved with our efforts at raising medical awareness of these issues, please contact us below.