Health officials trying to prevent overdose deaths - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Health officials trying to prevent overdose deaths

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EAU CLAIRE (AP) -- The state Department of Health Services is trying out a program to prevent overdose deaths.

The Leader-Telegram reports 47 agencies statewide are participating in the one-year pilot program.  Their emergency medical technicians will be allowed to administer the narcotic antidote naloxone, widely known by the brand name Narcan.

It's injected to counter the breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, and other effects from an overdose of heroin or prescription opiate pain relievers.

Under current state policy, only advanced life support EMTs can administer naloxone with overdose patients.

The newspaper reports the rate of overdose-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits in the state have nearly quadrupled since 2002, hitting nearly 1,200 in 2011.

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