(Good Things Utah) For people with opioid prescriptions, naloxone is a critical part of a first-aid kit to save a life – including their own infant or toddler.

Anyone taking an opioid is at risk of opioid overdose, even when taking them as prescribed. Opioid medications in a house also pose an accidental overdose risk to children, said Nick Weaver, pharmacy team lead at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

“Having naloxone in the house is critical to anyone who has been prescribed opioids – especially when children live in the home,” Weaver said. “A child who accidentally ingests an opioid can easily overdose and die from the injury. Naloxone can reverse the effect and save a little one’s life if used in a timely manner.”

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an opioid-reversal medication. It restores normal breathing and consciousness within minutes and can prevent brain damage due to lack of oxygen or even death. It comes as an injection or a nasal spray, and the same dosage amount can be used for an adult or a child.

Even after giving naloxone to a child, it’s important to get the child to the emergency room for care, Weaver said.

As part of efforts to reduce opioid overdose and deaths, Intermountain Healthcare is working to ensure patients with an opioid prescription also have a naloxone prescription. This goal is in collaboration with Utah Naloxone, a not-for-profit advocacy group that has been working to get the message about the importance of naloxone for over a decade.

Utah Naloxone is led by Dr. Jennifer Plumb, who is also a physician for University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.  

Intermountain Healthcare also is working to drastically reduce the number of opioid tablets given for pain and to educate providers and the public in partnership with groups including the Utah Department of Health and Know Your Script.

It’s important if you have expired or unused medications, opioids, or any other kinds, to dispose of them safely. There is a drop box at the Primary Children’s Hospital pharmacy and many other drop boxes are scattered throughout the state. KnowYourScript.org has a locator.

For more information, visit IntermountainHealthcare.org.

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