Saving Lives with On-Hand Opioid Antidote

VA adds naloxone to defibrillator cabinets

During an opioid overdose, naloxone can restore breathing within a few minutes—but it’s most effective when it’s on-hand right where an overdose occurs. At the Boston VA, naloxone is available in cafeterias, waiting rooms, and other public spaces, in automatic external defibrillator cabinets that are already installed in these locations.

“We needed to get this naloxone available immediately,” said Boston VA Patient Safety Manager Pam Bellino. The Boston VA pursued approval from The Joint Commission to add naloxone to AED cabinets after realizing the lifesaving potential of having the drug on hand rather than waiting for paramedics to arrive after an overdose. The Boston VA’s success has inspired the VA to add naloxone to AED cabinets nationwide starting in December 2018.

Read more from NPR. Epic community member MetroHealth in Ohio has received HIMSS recognition for their success in distributing naloxone. Epic community members can read more about MetroHealth’s program in their Success at Seven newsletter.