CHI Memorial has received 900 dosage units of the life-saving drug Narcan® (naloxone HCI) nasal spray 4mg as a donation from Cardinal Health. This donation will support CHI Memorial’s efforts to respond to opioid overdoses in Hamilton County.
CHI Memorial will distribute the doses of Narcan® to local first responder and law enforcement agencies including Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Hamilton County EMS, City of Red Bank police and fire departments, City of East Ridge police and fire departments, Town of Lookout Mountain police and fire departments, Suck Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Puckett EMS, and Lifeguard Ambulance Service.
“CHI Memorial recognizes that opioid use and abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the state of Tennessee”, says Helen Kuroki, M.D., chief medical officer at CHI Memorial. “Through this donation from Cardinal Health, we are proud to partner with many of our local first responder agencies to reduce the number of opioid deaths and help save lives in Hamilton County.”
While the actual number of prescriptions for opioids and benzodiazepines may have peaked in 2012, overdose deaths continue to rise. The Tennessee Department of Health reported 1631 overdose deaths in Tennessee in 2016, a 12% increase from 2015.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), signs of an opioid overdose can include: small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”; falling asleep or loss of consciousness; slow, shallow breathing; choking or gurgling sounds; limp body; and pale, blue, or cold skin. Narcan® can reverse the effects of opioids and save a person’s life if administered in time. Call 911 for emergency medical help if you suspect someone has overdosed on opioids.
Narcan® is available to the public for direct purchase. Tennessee is a ‘direct dispense’ state, meaning the public can purchase Narcan® directly from a pharmacist without a prescription from a physician. To find a list of participating pharmacies, visit narcan.com and search by zip code.