A new study by ADAI researcher Caleb Banta-Green and colleagues looked at whether Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data may provide insight into opioid overdose incidence, clinical characteristics, and medical response. Using data from a Seattle EMS service, the study compares heroin and pharmaceutical opioid overdoses from six alternating months in 2011. While they are clinical similar, the study finds that heroin and pharmaceutical opioid overdoses are treated differently by responders.
- Emergency Medical Services data provided important insights into opioid overdose.
- Heroin was identified in 43% of cases, and prescription-type opioids only in 37%.
- Cases were clinically similar, yet heroin users were more likely to receive naloxone.
- Standardized surveillance of opioid overdoses could be valuable for public health.
Data collection was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson’s Public Health Law Research Program.
Citation: Banta-Green CJ, Coffin PO, Schoeppe JA, Merrill JO, Whiteside LK, Ebersol AK. Heroin and pharmaceutical opioid overdose events: Emergency medical response characteristics. Drug & Alcohol Dependence 2017;178:1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.04.021. See related reports from this project.