WHO Issues Guidelines on Managing Opioid Overdoses — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
November 5, 2014

WHO Issues Guidelines on Managing Opioid Overdoses

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

The World Health Organization has published new guidelines on managing opioid overdose in a community setting.

Here are the four main recommendations:

  • People who are likely to witness an opioid overdose (e.g., close friends, partners, or family members) should have access to naloxone and know how to administer it in an emergency.

  • People administering naloxone should choose the route of administration (e.g., intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intranasal) based on the formulation available, how well they can administer it, the setting, and local context.

  • First responders should concentrate on managing the person's airway, administering naloxone, and assisting ventilation.

  • Following successful naloxone administration and resuscitation, the person's level of consciousness and breathing should be closely monitored until he or she has fully recovered.

Reader Comments (3)

Roland Sleater Other Healthcare Professional, Other, Retired

Although the reclassification of hydrocodone as as Schedule II has created some inconvenience for providers and patients, I believe that, with the passage of time, it will result in less abuse and probably fewer overdoses.

Gregory louviaux office

First responders training in timing and dosage would be primary as stated. Many more lives would be saved.

Trish Pascale Other, Other, Community College and Substance Abuse Treatment

It seems First Responders would be a given. The route seems would be their professional opinion for the given circumstance and training. There is a reason they are trained and their training is documented.

For friends and family members, it would seem that intense training would be in order. There is so much baggage to just allow them a free for all. It cannot be a one size fits all, how could it??? Yet, how could they not be allowed at the same time? It seems that it would be individualized for that certain person, given that certain circumstance, given that certain person's abilities... How could it be anything else?

Policy and procedure taking into consideration human factor of addiction and the family and it's unspoken affects, would have to be taken into consideration.

Substance abuse counselors may not be recognized as professionals if they do not have degrees in psychology or social work, but we have been down that road before. They have the ability to recognize many of the addiction quirks for a lot less money. :) This would probably be very helpful in assessment/training creation for family/friends. That is if I have understood the questions correctly.

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