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What is the Colorado Naloxone Project?

 Why should naloxone distribution be standard of care

Naloxone Saves Lives

The Colorado Naloxone Project is one of the most ambitious efforts in the nation to address the opioid overdose crisis and improve quality of care. Our goal is for all Colorado hospitals and emergency departments to distribute naloxone to at-risk patients, placing naloxone in patients’ hands prior to their departure from the hospital.

What is Naloxone?

A life-saving medication that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Overdoses can happen to anyone, so understanding how to use naloxone is essential for aiding those who are at risk of an opioid overdose. Please visit our naloxone how-to videos and fact pages for more information.

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US drug overdose statistics

In 2018, 67,367 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States. Opioids were involved in 46,802 overdose deaths in 2018 (69.5% of all drug overdose deaths). – CDC

More than 1,062 Coloradans died from an overdose in 2019 and the number of fentanyl overdose deaths has doubled since 2018. Preliminary data from 2020 shows that Colorado overdoses are up an additional 30%, driven by the despair and reduced access to treatment and support created by the COVID-19 pandemic. – CHI

Colorado has been a leader in naloxone distribution through its early adoption of naloxone standing orders, Good Samaritan laws, and the use of naloxone by law enforcement. The Colorado Naloxone Project is committed to making Colorado the first state in the nation in which every hospital consistently identifies patients at risk of opioid overdose and sends them home with naloxone in hand. Many hospitals have a process in place to send written naloxone prescriptions home with at-risk patients or inform them of the over-the-counter availability of the medication, but research suggests that naloxone prescriptions are unlikely to be filled. While naloxone prescriptions are on the rise and high-dose opioid prescriptions are declining, too many are still dying of opioid overdoses. The Colorado Naloxone Project is working to address this gap and ensure that this life-saving medication is in the hands of every Coloradoan at risk for an opioid overdose.

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