Anti-overdose orders offered to Wyoming groups
August 31, 2022
Free orders of a temporary opioid overdose antidote known as NARCAN® are once again available to Wyoming groups through the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
Erica Mathews, manager of the Grants and Programs Unit with the WDH Division of Behavioral Health, said NARCAN® is a potentially life-saving prescription drug designed to help quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
“This program provides free NARCAN® to agencies, businesses and organizations in Wyoming that may be able to help people who are experiencing an opioid overdose,” Mathews said. “It is intended for groups such as law enforcement agencies, emergency medical service providers and schools rather than for individual orders.” The effort is being funded through a State Opioid Response Grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
WDH data shows that annual deaths attributable to overdoses in Wyoming have increased in some years and decreased in others. It is believed that the recent increase in overdose deaths can be largely attributed to an increase in overdose deaths caused by synthetic opioids. In 2021, 106 overdose deaths were recorded among Wyoming residents compared to 99 in 2020, 78 in 2019, 65 in 2018, 62 in 2017, 94 in 2016, 96 in 2015, 106 in 2019, and 106 in 2014. in 2019, 2014.
The active ingredient in NARCAN®, naloxone hydrochloride, can block the effects of opioids and restore normal breathing in a person whose breathing has slowed, or even stopped, as a result of an opioid overdose.
Mathews said more than one dose of naloxone may be required when stronger opioids and synthetic opioids like fentanyl are involved.
Groups interested in receiving medication through the Wyoming program should visit https://health.wyo.gov/behavioralhealth/mhsa/mat/. There are important rules, specific program requirements and ordering information.
People interested in a personal supply of naloxone for themselves or a close friend or family member should ask local pharmacies or medical providers about the drug. Insurance will sometimes cover prescriptions for naloxone, and some pharmacies are able to provide naloxone to individuals without a doctor’s prescription.
The WDH Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) previously offered NARCAN to groups using federal funds from 2016 until last fall when that special grant participation ended for Wyoming.
Rachel Nuss, manager of the Community Prevention Unit with WDH, said her program continues to fund county prevention specialists who work in a variety of substance abuse prevention services. Prevention services include creating and updating policies, reducing access to prescription drugs through drug take-back events, and promoting prescription drug boxes, safe storage, and safe disposal methods, in addition to providing educational resources as needed.
Online NARCAN® administration training can be found at https://www.getnaloxonenow.org/#gettraining. The training is free for people who put a Wyoming address on the site.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is also available throughout Wyoming and is a proven treatment for opioid use disorders in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. The WDH Division of Behavioral Health contracts for MAT and other opioid use disorder treatment services with regional community substance abuse treatment providers. Services from community substance abuse treatment providers are available regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. MAT and other opioid use disorder treatment services may also be provided by other local certified providers. To find a community substance abuse treatment provider or certified provider, visit https://health.wyo.gov/behavioralhealth/mhsa/treatment.