DAYTON, Ky. (AP) — A northern Kentucky medical team expects to receive a pharmaceutical in the coming weeks that can be prescribed to treat opiate overdoses.
Dr. Jeremy Engel told The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/17mJXmf) that his team at St. Elizabeth Physicians of Bellevue will prescribe naloxone to "individuals at high risk." He said they will begin by administering it to heroin addicts in treatment.
The newspaper reports the state Office of Drug Control Policy wants to use Engel's team to create a model to distribute naloxone in the rest of the state.
The medication was limited to medical professionals before lawmakers approved a measure earlier this year allowing it to be given in prescription form so that a third-party can administer the dose.
Two organizations are working to raise funds to purchase naloxone kits for those who can't afford them.
Nasal naloxone blocks the effects of opioids such as heroin which can save a life in the event of an overdose.
"Medicine is usually intended to be self-dosing," said Sam Coletta, a pharmacist who has volunteered to help purchase and distribute kits.
In cases such as overdoses, he said, "They can't administer it. They're dependent on someone around them."
Engel said Coletta called and offered to help him after the law passed.
"He's becoming a regional expert on this process and (will) share that process," Engel said. "He's game-on."
Coletta said one family he knows of lost two young men to heroin overdose and he has watched medics try to treat overdoses.
"There are a lot of close-to-home stories. Kids that I've known," he said. "It's more common than you think."
Experts say heroin addicts have a high rate of relapse.
Mac McArthur, director of Transitions Inc., a large substance abuse treatment center, said distributing the medication will curb deaths.
"This will save lives," he said.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com