State Distributing More Overdose Rescue Kits

Aug 18, 2016

The Vermont Health Department is making an overdose prevention drug more widely available to drug users, their friends and families.

Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen says opioid overdoses can slow breathing to the point of death. He says lives can be saved within minutes by distributing the drug naloxone.

"We want to push them out to people who are addicted, injection users, their friends, families," Chen said on Vermont Edition. "Because we know in an overdose situation, seconds and minutes can make the difference between life and death and it [naloxone] can save lives."

Chen says naloxone is administered as a nasal spray. He says no screening is needed for someone to get the prevention kits.

"If you come back for a refill, we're really trying to get some information about how it's used, how often it's used, and things of that sort," he said. "But if you try to get too much information, as you might expect, it becomes a barrier."

The state saw 10 opioid overdoses last weekend stemming from a particularly potent batch of heroin. One person died, and some patients required more than one dose of naloxone before being revived.

Listen to the full interview with Chen from "Vermont Edition" above.