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Desert View Hospital kicks off opioid reversal project

Desert View Hospital hosted a kickoff event recently with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Chief of Staff,

Mike Willden, to announce the launch of the Nevada Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal project.

The program is a statewide partnership under the leadership of Desert View Hospital, who is acting as the lead agency in the program.

The program will be an important part of saving lives of those who overdose on opioids, as it allows those caring for the individual to have access to an important drug.

“It puts training and actually the drug Naloxone into the hands of the first responders,” Willden said. “That’s a big deal. If somebody overdoses on opioids, there’s a small window which if you don’t counteract that and get the patient to a hospital, they can die.”

Naloxone is a drug that can help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The drug kicks in fast, if it’s injected into the vein of an overdose victim it works within two minutes, and if injected into the muscle, it works within five minutes.

Willden explained the process to get this program rolling began three years ago through a grant through the National Governors Association, who looked at substance abuse in Nevada. They set three goals they wanted to accomplish after reviewing the process at that time.

The first was to pass legislation that provides a good Samaritan act, where Naloxone can be in the hands of family, friends and first responders to use in case of an overdose. Secondly, to actually procure Naloxone and have it available; and lastly, education and training.

Willden explained that rural areas had higher instances of opioid overdoses and that Nye County had one of the higher ones in their report.

“They measured it with the number out of 1,000 emergency room admissions, how many were related to opioid drug overdose and the state average is around five per thousand admissions,” he said. “In Nye County they were higher, in the seven to eight range. So Nye County runs higher than the state average. Absolutely.”

Another issue that made this program important in rural areas, overdose patients have to travel farther than those in larger cities to get care, so equipping first responders with Naloxone in rural areas will increase the chance the overdose patient does not pass away from the episode.

The overarching goal of the project is to reduce the incidence of morbidity and mortality related to opioid overdose in rural and frontier Nevada. Members of the community, press, and health care field are encouraged to join Desert View Hospital; Chief of Staff Willden; Tracey Green MD, State Medical Director; Assemblyman Oscarson; Nevada Department of Health personnel; University of Nevada personnel; and community leaders for this event.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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