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County to expand availability of anti-overdose drug 

As the United States continues to struggle with an epidemic of opiate-related addiction and death, SLO County will seek to expand the availability of a drug that helps prevent overdoses.

At its upcoming Aug. 8 regular meeting, the county Board of Supervisors will consider accepting a $26,985 grant that will allow the county to provide hundreds of doses of Naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses, in the form of a nasal spray. According to a report by SLO County Health Agency staff, the drug works almost immediately, has few known adverse side effects, and is not addictive.

click to enlarge FIGHTING OVERDOSES SLO County wants to expand the availability of naloxone nasal spray to prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • FIGHTING OVERDOSES SLO County wants to expand the availability of naloxone nasal spray to prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths.

Under the terms of the grant, 686 doses of Naloxone nasal spray will be distributed to the nonprofit Access Support Network, which will give out the drug to at-risk individuals as part of the organization's syringe exchange program. According to the county, the group will provide the doses to each individual who uses the exchange, as well as training on how to identify the signs of an overdose and how to use and administer the drug.

"While most professional first responders and emergency departments are equipped with naloxone, emergency service providers may not arrive in time to revive overdose victims," the county's report stated. "Trained and equipped bystanders such as friends, family, and other non-health care providers and drug users themselves can effectively respond and reverse an opioid overdose."

The funds will come from the California Department of Health's Safe and Active Communities grant program. In addition to the $26,985, the county would chip in $13,493 for the program.

SLO County is just one of many communities battling opioid addiction and overdoses. In 2015, the county saw 36 opioid-related deaths and local hospitals experienced 640 opioid-related emergency room visits the pervious year.

In response to the growing problem, the county formed a multi-agency Opioid Safety Coalition to study and provide strategies to tackle the opioid epidemic within SLO County. Δ


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