- Associated Press - Saturday, July 30, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa hospital will soon begin offering heroin and opiate overdose rescue kits to the public.

Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque officials announced Friday that the hospital and its pharmacy will distribute kits with two nasal injection doses of naloxone, the Telegraph Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2aEArDx ). Naloxone counteracts the effects of opioids.

The move is a way to combat the growing opioid problem in Dubuque, said Mercy’s Turning Point Treatment Center coordinator Malissa Sprenger.

Dubuque Drug Task Force statistics show there have been 21 opioid-related overdoses in 2016 through July 20. Eight of those overdoses were fatal.

To obtain the kits, people must go through a 30-minute training session to ensure the naloxone is administered properly. The first training course is set for Aug. 5.



The person suffering an overdose must get additional medical care after being treated with the rescue kit, Sprenger said.

“They can be resuscitated and look like they’re doing well, but they could still easily go back into an overdose state,” she said.

The cost for a kit still is being determined, but will likely range from $40 to $116, Sprenger said.

The Dubuque Mercy Health Foundation has pledged $20,000 to cover kits for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

Al Fear, coordinator of the federally funded Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative, said he’s excited for the program and intends to take the training himself.

“I think this is going to be a game-changer,” Fear said. “It’s going to save a lot of lives.”

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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