ANMC Pharmacy fill life-saving kits for Project HOPEJuly 23, 2018
ANMC Pharmacy and the Aurora Borealis Branch of Commissioned Officers Association partnered to join Project HOPE (Harm reduction, Overdose Prevention and Education) to help advance the Surgeon General’s initiative to equip individuals with the potentially lifesaving medication, naloxone. On July 12, 43 U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers gathered to make 273 Project HOPE overdose response kits.
According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) website, too much of an opioid can affect parts of the brain that drive breathing, causing it to become very slow or stop altogether. Narcan® (naloxone) temporarily blocks or reverses the effects of opioids. In most cases the results are immediate, stopping the effects of the overdose and allowing the person to breathe again allowing time to seek emergency medical assistance. The use of naloxone is supported by many organizations, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the World Health Organization. Narcan® has no potential for abuse and will have no effect if accidentally administered or self-administered.
“Growing awareness and availability of naloxone is crucial in the public health’s response for combating the ongoing opioid epidemic,” said CDR Kara King, ANTHC Director of Pharmacy. “We as pharmacists need to ensure that we are educating ourselves on identifying high-risk individuals for opioid overdose, are equipped and knowledgeable on how to use naloxone, and that we are ready to respond to help save a life.”
Project HOPE has three principles: prevent dependence on opioid drugs; reduce addiction by recognizing and treating it; and reverse the life-threatening effects of an overdose.
“In June, our Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, challenged each and every officer to carry naloxone and be ready to respond to this public health epidemic, so partnering with Project HOPE was the perfect way to equip our Alaska officers,” said ANTHC Inpatient Pain Pharmacist and Commissioned Corps Officer Aimee Young, who helped organize the kit making event. “We plan on having another round in which we are going to increase our number of kits drastically, allowing us to give to staff and pretty much anyone who wants one. Keep an eye out for details later on our distribution plan.”
People at risk from opioid overdose can receive a Project HOPE overdose response kit, which includes:
- Two doses of Narcan® (Naloxone), a drug that temporarily blocks or reverses the effects of opioids
- Sanitary gloves
- Brochure on how to give Narcan® to someone
- Carrying case
Anyone interested in having a naloxone overdose response kit can visit a retail pharmacy and request a kit without a prescription, although there may be a cost associated. Individuals should check with their insurance plan regarding the cost/copay.
Project HOPE is a state-based program where the State of Alaska’s DHSS is working with community organizations to distribute or administer Narcan® in Alaska. To learn more about this program, visit the Alaska DHSS Division of Public Health website at: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Director/Pages/heroin-opioids/default.aspx.