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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Is publicly available naloxone a good thing?

The introduction of a nasal injection allows a drug like naloxone to be delivered safely

By Arthur Hsieh

As a health care provider, I can see the pros and cons of providing naloxone to narcotic abusers so that the chances of an accidental overdose can be mitigated.

Naloxone only acts for a short period of time and the potential for it to not completely counteract the overdose is real.

Plus, patients can abuse multiple drugs concurrently, and removing the "braking" ability of heroin might result in more significant issues.

However, as a public health provider, it seems to make more sense to try to reduce the harm caused through a more timely intervention, rather than waiting for EMS to arrive.

The introduction of a nasal injection allows a drug like naloxone to be delivered safely and reduces some of the potentially serious side effects associated with intravenous or intramuscular injection.

I'm interested in how you feel about this and whether your system has any experiences with publicly available naloxone. Share your thoughts below.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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