Office of Behavioral Health – Training for Opioid Antagonist Administration

Drug overdose deaths are now the number one cause of accidental death in the United States. The rise in the number of hospitalizations and deaths resulting from prescription drug misuse and abuse, particularly opioids, gave increased access to naloxone a role in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's 2014 National Drug Control Strategy, issued July 9, 2014. Louisiana has one of the highest per capita overdose rates in the nation, raking 11th overall. Last year alone, 15 out of every 100,000 persons in Louisiana died due to accidental overdose. According to the CDC, 46 people die daily from an overdose of prescription painkillers in the U.S. with 10 of highest prescribing states in the South.

Many other states have enacted policies to provide limited immunity from arrest or prosecution for people with minor drug violations for people who summon help at the scene of an overdose, and the list is growing. In keeping with this national trend and to protect its citizens, Louisiana enacted Act 192 of the 2015 Regular Legislative Session so that overdose victims can get emergency assistance and follow-up treatment without fear of prosecution. Essentially, Act 192 allows for a person acting in good faith to receive a naloxone or other opioid antagonist prescription from a licensed healthcare professional, possess and administer the naloxone to an individual appearing to experience an opiate-related overdose, and they and the healthcare professional shall be immune from prosecution and civil liability as a result of their good-faith effort to provide medical assistance. The person administering the naloxone or other opioid antagonist shall assist the victim with seeking emergency medical attention as evidence of their good faith. 

As per the mandates of Act 192, the Louisiana Department of Health is promulgating rulemaking to set forth best practice training requirements. Training will include how to recognize signs of overdose and guidance on storage, administration, and emergency follow-up procedures for opioid antagonists administered to individuals who are undergoing or who are believed to be undergoing an opioid-related overdose The Notice of Intent for this rulemaking is anticipated to be published in the Louisiana Register in September of 2015. For updates and latest versions of the rule, please visit the OBH rulemaking site

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