After two training sessions were cancelled due to lack of participation this week in Neosho, efforts are being made to make the public aware of drug overdoses and about a product, Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride), designed to save lives.

After two training sessions were cancelled due to lack of participation this week in Neosho, efforts are being made to make the public aware of drug overdoses and about a product, Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride), designed to save lives.
An opioid epidemic is ongoing across the United States, in every location from large cities to small towns like Neosho. It affects all ages, races, and genders. In numbers released in June, the leading cause of death in Americans under age 50 is now drug overdose. Most overdose deaths are due to opioids or heroin. There is however, an available treatment that is designed for use for a known or suspected opioid overdose.
Narcan nasal spray is available but public awareness is vital. Narcan is the first and only FDA approved nasal form of Naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. Narcan can reduce the life threatening effects of an Opioid overdose. Most accidental overdoses occur in a home setting, it was developed for use by first responders, family members, friends and caregivers.
 A standing order issued in September by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services authorizes any pharmacist in the state who is licensed by the state board to dispense or to sell Naloxone products without a prescription. Naloxone or Narcan can also be dispensed by physician protocol.
A pair of Narcan training sessions scheduled for Nov. 1 at the MARET Center on the Crowder College campus was cancelled due to a lack of participants. The same information will be presented during the monthly meeting of the Newton County Community Coalition on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from noon until 1 p.m. at the Talkington Building at 209 S. Valley St., Neosho.
Naloxone in nasal spray form as Narcan was approved by the FDA in January 2017. Although not a substitute for emergency medical care, Narcan is intended to be used for immediate administration. In the event of a suspected opioid overdose, it cannot be self-administered and it must be given as soon as possible to prevent death or damage to the central nervous system. Training is highly recommended. Instructions are provided when a prescription for Narcan is received.
In Missouri, 1 out of every 66 deaths is due to an opioid or heroin overdose. In 2016, 908 Missouri residents died from an overdose. The opioid crisis is epidemic across the nation and remains a growing problem in Southwest Missouri.
Missouri is now the sole state out of 50 in the United States who lacks a state-wide prescription drug monitoring program, PDMP. Although a growing number of counties and some cities within the state, Newton County has no PDMP. Efforts to get a PDMP into effect were tabled in September.
In the last session of the Missouri Legislature in May, efforts to pass a prescription drug monitoring bill failed again after several efforts were made in recent years. In late July, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens issued an executive order to establish a PDMP. Greiten's plan, however deals only with a prescription drug dispensing company called Express Scripts and deals with just 40 percent of the opioid prescriptions filled in Missouri.  According to local pharmacist and member of the Newton County Community Coalition, a long-time advocate of prescription drug monitoring, Tim Mitchell, Greitens plan still leaves 60 percent including Medicaid recipients unmonitored.
"I don't feel like it was enough," Mitchell said about Greitens' plan.
Opioids are prescribed pain medications derived either from opium from the poppy plant or synthetically made opium. Opioids are highly addictive and include oxycodone, hyrocodone, tramadol, fentayl, and many more. A PDMP would assist in tracking prescriptions to avoid misuse and addiction.
The free presentation about Narcan on Nov. 28 will help those in attendance learn how to identify risk factors of an overdose, how to tell if someone has overdosed, rescue responses, and tips to prevent overdoses. Training is recommended for law enforcement personnel, First Responders, school employees, caregivers and parents.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, every individual who is saved from an overdose or connected with rehabilitation resources is a mother, father, sibling, or child to someone.