Jan 15, 2020 2:00 PM

Many of us take actions so we can help someone in a life-threating situation, whether that means learning CPR or buying a first aid kit. Another lifesaving tool to add to the list: a naloxone rescue kit.

Naloxone is a medicine that reverses an opioid or opiate overdose. A naloxone rescue kit contains a few doses of the medicine and a way to give it to the person—either by a syringe, nasal spray, or autoinjector. Rescue kits are easy to use and include clear instructions on when and how to use the kit. They are legal to carry around and use in the case of an overdose emergency.

Medicine overdose is the leading cause of injury death in Utah. More Utahns die from overdose than from car accidents and firearms combined. Unfortunately, these rates continue to rise. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2017, 456 people died from opioid overdoses in Utah. Of these deaths, 70% are related to prescription opioids, such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), morphine, fentanyl, and codeine. Overdoses also come from street drugs such as heroin. Often these drugs are taken on purpose. But they can also be taken by accident, especially by children and pets.

Cancer patients may need opioids to manage pain. Opioids can be very effective at reducing pain, but they also carry the risk of overdose. Having a naloxone kit on hand can make you and your family safer during cancer treatment.

Thanks to a partnership with Utah Naloxone, the G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute now offers free naloxone rescue kits to anyone requesting one—no questions asked. You can visit the library on the 6th floor of the cancer hospital and speak to the health educator at the front desk. The health educator will teach you how to recognize an overdose emergency and how to use the kit. Instructions are provided in both English and Spanish.

For more information, visit www.utahnaloxone.org or contact the Cancer Learning Center at 1-888-424-2100 or cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

health education

Cancer touches all of us.

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