Between May 2019 and March 2023, MedStar crews have treated 2,977 patients the crew believed were suffering from an overdose. The number of overdose patients continues to be concerning.
Naloxone is a life-saving drug that, when sprayed into the nose, quickly reverses the powerful effects of opioids during an overdose. Everyone who overdoses with opioids, whether with a prescribed medicine or an illicit drug, can use naloxone.
Here is a link to a video courtesy of MedStar and the Tarrant Opioid Reduction and Recovery Initiative (TORRI) that explains the impact of overdoses, and explains how to use naloxone for a suspected overdose victim: https://youtu.be/tI2LiLaKrp4
To try and help reduce the incidence of repeat overdoses in the community, MedStar and the Recovery Resource Council have partnered on a special program designed to provide additional resources to patients who suffer an overdose.
A MedStar Community Paramedic and a substance abuse counselor from the Recovery Resource Council follow up on overdose patients that MedStar crews treat in the field. During the follow up visit, patients are offered substance abuse counseling and referrals to community resources.
Families of the overdose victims are provided with Narcan, a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, as well as CPR training.
Since the program started in December 2021:
- 258 people or families have received at least one program service
- 176 have been connected to a peer support specialist
- 189 family members have received hands only CPR training
- 175 people have received a health and wellness screening and were referred to other community resources
- 623 Narcan kits have been provided to 178 families
This initiative is funded though the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.