Overdose antidote orders offered to Wyoming groups

Overdose antidote orders offered to Wyoming groups

August 31, 2022

Free orders for a temporary opioid overdose antidote known as NARCAN® are again available to Wyoming groups through the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).

Erica Mathews, head of the Grants and Programs unit at the WDH Behavioral Health Division, said NARCAN® is a potentially life-saving prescription drug designed to help quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

“This program provides free NARCAN® to agencies, businesses and organizations in Wyoming that may be able to help people who are experiencing an opioid overdose,” said Mathews. “It is intended for groups such as law enforcement, emergency medical service providers and schools rather than for individual orders.” The effort is funded through the federal administration’s state opioid response grant for substance abuse and mental health services.

WDH data shows that annual deaths attributed to overdoses in Wyoming have increased within a few years and decreased at other times. The recent increase in overdose deaths is believed to be largely attributed to an increase in synthetic opioid overdose deaths. In 2021, 106 overdose deaths were recorded among Wyoming residents compared to 99 in 2020, 78 in 2019, 65 in 2018, 62 in 2017, 94 in 2016, 96 in 2015, 106 in 2014, 96 in 2013 and 99 in 2012.

The active ingredient in NARCAN®, naloxone hydrochloride, can block the effects of opioids and restore normal breathing in a person whose breathing is slowed or even stopped due to opioid overdose.

Mathews said more than one dose of naloxone may be needed when stronger opioids and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are involved.

Groups interested in receiving the drug through the Wyoming program should visit https://health.wyo.gov/behavioralhealth/mhsa/mat/. There are important rules, program specific requirements and ordering information.

People interested in a personal supply of naloxone for themselves or a close friend or family member should inquire about the drug from local pharmacies or health care providers. Sometimes the insurance covers naloxone prescriptions, and some pharmacies are able to supply naloxone to people without a prescription.

The WDH Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) had previously provided NARCAN to groups using federal funding from 2016 until last fall, when that particular grant participation ended for Wyoming.

Rachel Nuss, head of the Community Prevention Unit with WDH, said her program continues to fund county prevention specialists who work on a variety of substance abuse prevention services. Preventive services include creating and updating policies, reducing access to prescription drugs through drug recall events and promoting prescription drug containers, safe storage and safe disposal methods, as well as to provide educational resources as needed.

Online training for NARCAN® administration is available at https://www.getnaloxonenow.org/#gettraining. The training is free for people who enter a Wyoming address on the site.

Drug-assisted treatment (MAT) is also available throughout Wyoming and is a proven treatment of opioid use disorders in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies. The WDH Behavioral Health Division contracts MAT services and other opioid use disorder treatment services with substance abuse treatment providers in the regional community. The services of community substance abuse treatment service providers are available regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. MAT and other opioid use disorder treatment services may also be available from other certified local providers. To locate a community-based substance abuse treatment provider or certified provider, visit https://health.wyo.gov/behavioralhealth/mhsa/treatment.

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