Research shows that ER visits can lower the rate of opioid deaths by providing overdose education and rescue kits. Emergency Departments across North America have an opportunity to educate patients who come through and provide a rescue kit in case an opioid overdose occurs. Early intervention can often mean the difference between an overdose that causes death and an overdose which is survived. In 1999 the number of opioid overdose deaths was 4,041. By 2010 this number had reached a staggering 16,651 people. Nasal naloxene rescue kits can be provided to patients and their families along with information about how to respond during an overdose situation. In 2011 there were an estimated 420,040 visits to emergency rooms related to an overdose of opioid drugs, and 258,482 overdose cases which involved heroin.
ER visits for possible overdose of opioids, and the number of opioid deaths, can be lowered when patients are provided with the right information and the rescue kit which can start to reverse an overdose before help can arrive. In many cases by the time that rescue personnel arrive it is too late because of how fast an overdose death can occur. When loved ones are taught the signs of an overdose and they understand what steps to take and how to use a naloxene rescue kit the odds of the individual surviving the opioid overdose are greatly increased. Many opioid deaths could be prevented if the medical resources and knowledge is available to those who are on hand when an overdose happens. Many police agencies and other first responders are also being trained and receiving the rescue kits as well.