Take-Home Naloxone and the Need for a Publicly Funded Naloxone Supply

Howard S. Kim*, Steven E. Aks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The opioid crisis continues to exact a heavy toll on the United States, and overdose deaths have only increased during the current global pandemic. One effective intervention to reduce overdose deaths is to distribute the opioid antagonist naloxone directly to persons actively using opioids (ie, "take-home naloxone"), especially at touchpoints with the potential for significant impact such as emergency departments and jails. A number of hospital emergency departments have recently sought to implement individual take-home naloxone programs; however, programmatic success has been inconsistent due primarily to the inability to secure reliable funding for a naloxone supply. In this commentary, we establish the argument for a publicly funded naloxone supply to support take-home naloxone distribution in emergency department settings. We posit that the complex billing and reimbursement system for medication dispensing is impossibly burdensome during emergency care for an acute opioid overdose, and that the mounting death toll from this public health crisis demands a strong commitment to harm reduction. A publicly financed naloxone supply would demonstrate this commitment and make a measurable impact in saving lives. Ultimately, provision of naloxone should be coupled with other comprehensive treatment services and medications for opioid use disorder to meaningfully reduce harms associated with opioid use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Keywords

  • emergency department
  • naloxone
  • opioid
  • take-home naloxone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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