News & Announcements
Collaboration to reduce deaths from opioid overdose expands public, community-focused health efforts of MIHO, SFFD
Beginning this month, the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance and Santa Fe Fire Department embarked on a new community health collaboration to increase layperson access to Narcan nasal spray, the easy-to-use antidote that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
For most of the past 20 years, New Mexico has led the nation in opioid overdose deaths. In 2015, the overall death rate decreased statewide, however, there was a slight increase in the number of deaths in Santa Fe County. In an effort to curb the ongoing overdose death epidemic, this collaborative project represents the first of its kind in New Mexico to pair a city fire department with a community-based organization.
This innovative collaboration is funded by the Santa Fe County Community Services Department. The goal of the project is to increase access to Narcan and reduce drug overdose deaths in our community.
The Community Narcan Access Project conducts targeted outreach to people who recently experienced an opioid overdose and were resuscitated by a Santa Fe Fire Department rescue crew. Each week, SFFD staff contact people who were resuscitated the week before to ask if they would like to meet with the project team, a SFFD paramedic who works with the Mobile Integrated Health Office (MIHO) and an outreach worker from the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance. The project team goes to where the person lives to offer overdose prevention education, provide information on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose and give them a free Narcan kit.
Friends and family members who may be in a position to respond to a future opioid overdose event are included whenever possible, and they also receive Narcan so that they can be prepared to respond to an overdose emergency. Project staff also offer health and social service referrals, a contact number for future inquiries, and information about how to get Narcan (or the generic Naloxone) from local pharmacies.
In under a month, staff have trained 14 laypersons and family members and distributed 22 Narcan kits containing 44 doses of the medication.
For more information, please contact Bernie Lieving, Opiate Policy Coordinator for the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance at (505) 270-5943.