A Colorado Company Taking A Life-Saving Drug Overdose Program To The Next Level

A comprehensive pharmacy service that provides medications for long-term conditions, including chronic pain and addiction. These pharmacies, operated by Cordant Health Solutions™, are making the life-saving drug naloxone available to all patients who are prescribed both opioid pain medications and a naloxone prescription as well.

According to preliminary data reported by The New York Times, opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death in adults under 50, with overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeding 59,000 — the largest annual jump ever recorded.

Available as an injectable or nasal-dosed agent, naloxone is easily administered during a known or suspected opioid overdose and can reverse slowed breathing caused by an opioid overdose. In most cases naloxone restores normal breathing long enough for emergency medical personnel to arrive.

“Our program is unique in that we proactively work with physicians to educate their patients about  the importance of having this lifesaving medication when taking an opioid for pain management or drug addiction treatment,” said Susan Sommer, president and CEO of Cordant.

The American Medical Association reports that 32,659 naloxone prescriptions were dispensed in the first two months of 2017, noting a record 340 percent increase from 2016. But with roughly 62,000 pharmacies and between 9.6 million to 11.5 million persons in the U.S. prescribed longer-term opioid therapy, can more be done? This is where Cordant believes it is filling a gap in the pharmacy model for pain management and drug addiction treatment.

“Between our three pharmacies located in Colorado, Indiana and Washington, we have dispensed 450 naloxone prescriptions,” said Sommer. “Our goal is for patients to overcome the stigma that can be associated with this prescription. Naloxone should be considered a safety precaution, similar to having injectable epinephrine in the house to treat a severe allergic reaction.”

In 2015, data published by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed that 329 people died in the state from overdoses of a prescription opioid, either a natural opioid, a synthetic such as fentanyl, or methadone.