Catch and release: evaluating the safety of non-fatal heroin overdose management in the out-of-hospital environment

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Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the safety of the management of non-fatal heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment; irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. Heroin toxicity-related deaths as well as heroin intoxication-related traumatic deaths following patient-initiated refusal of transport were investigated. Methods: Heroin-related deaths in the state of Victoria, Australia between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2013 were investigated and data linkage to pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services performed, in order to identify whether the death was related to the last episode of care by paramedics. The number of non-fatal heroin overdose events over the study period were also examined. Results and discussion: There were a total of 3921 heroin-related attendances by paramedics during the study period, including 2455 cases that involved treatment but where the patient was not transported to hospital. There were also 243 heroin-related deaths identified over the study period and 93% (n = 225) of those cases were matched with Ambulance Victoria electronic patient care records. Data linkage revealed 31 heroin-related deaths where there had been a recent presentation with a non-fatal heroin overdose to paramedics; however, none of these deaths were related to that episode of care, including for 11 individuals that were treated on scene by paramedics but not transported to the hospital. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the treatment of uncomplicated heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment was safe in terms of mortality, irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. In all of the non-fatal heroin toxicity cases attended by paramedics, whether or not transported to hospital, death occurred as a result of a subsequent and unrelated heroin overdose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Toxicology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • heroin overdose
  • Heroin toxicity
  • naloxone
  • treat-and-release

Cite this

@article{3513d78cc14443af98ce23e0c23e3e01,
title = "Catch and release: evaluating the safety of non-fatal heroin overdose management in the out-of-hospital environment",
abstract = "Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the safety of the management of non-fatal heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment; irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. Heroin toxicity-related deaths as well as heroin intoxication-related traumatic deaths following patient-initiated refusal of transport were investigated. Methods: Heroin-related deaths in the state of Victoria, Australia between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2013 were investigated and data linkage to pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services performed, in order to identify whether the death was related to the last episode of care by paramedics. The number of non-fatal heroin overdose events over the study period were also examined. Results and discussion: There were a total of 3921 heroin-related attendances by paramedics during the study period, including 2455 cases that involved treatment but where the patient was not transported to hospital. There were also 243 heroin-related deaths identified over the study period and 93{\%} (n = 225) of those cases were matched with Ambulance Victoria electronic patient care records. Data linkage revealed 31 heroin-related deaths where there had been a recent presentation with a non-fatal heroin overdose to paramedics; however, none of these deaths were related to that episode of care, including for 11 individuals that were treated on scene by paramedics but not transported to the hospital. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the treatment of uncomplicated heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment was safe in terms of mortality, irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. In all of the non-fatal heroin toxicity cases attended by paramedics, whether or not transported to hospital, death occurred as a result of a subsequent and unrelated heroin overdose.",
keywords = "heroin overdose, Heroin toxicity, naloxone, treat-and-release",
author = "Stam, {Nathan C.} and Pilgrim, {Jennifer L.} and Drummer, {Olaf H.} and Karen Smith and Dimitri Gerostamoulos",
year = "2018",
month = "6",
day = "5",
doi = "10.1080/15563650.2018.1478093",
language = "English",
pages = "1--7",
journal = "Clinical Toxicology",
issn = "1556-3650",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",

}

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T1 - Catch and release

T2 - evaluating the safety of non-fatal heroin overdose management in the out-of-hospital environment

AU - Stam, Nathan C.

AU - Pilgrim, Jennifer L.

AU - Drummer, Olaf H.

AU - Smith, Karen

AU - Gerostamoulos, Dimitri

PY - 2018/6/5

Y1 - 2018/6/5

N2 - Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the safety of the management of non-fatal heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment; irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. Heroin toxicity-related deaths as well as heroin intoxication-related traumatic deaths following patient-initiated refusal of transport were investigated. Methods: Heroin-related deaths in the state of Victoria, Australia between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2013 were investigated and data linkage to pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services performed, in order to identify whether the death was related to the last episode of care by paramedics. The number of non-fatal heroin overdose events over the study period were also examined. Results and discussion: There were a total of 3921 heroin-related attendances by paramedics during the study period, including 2455 cases that involved treatment but where the patient was not transported to hospital. There were also 243 heroin-related deaths identified over the study period and 93% (n = 225) of those cases were matched with Ambulance Victoria electronic patient care records. Data linkage revealed 31 heroin-related deaths where there had been a recent presentation with a non-fatal heroin overdose to paramedics; however, none of these deaths were related to that episode of care, including for 11 individuals that were treated on scene by paramedics but not transported to the hospital. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the treatment of uncomplicated heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment was safe in terms of mortality, irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. In all of the non-fatal heroin toxicity cases attended by paramedics, whether or not transported to hospital, death occurred as a result of a subsequent and unrelated heroin overdose.

AB - Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the safety of the management of non-fatal heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment; irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. Heroin toxicity-related deaths as well as heroin intoxication-related traumatic deaths following patient-initiated refusal of transport were investigated. Methods: Heroin-related deaths in the state of Victoria, Australia between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2013 were investigated and data linkage to pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services performed, in order to identify whether the death was related to the last episode of care by paramedics. The number of non-fatal heroin overdose events over the study period were also examined. Results and discussion: There were a total of 3921 heroin-related attendances by paramedics during the study period, including 2455 cases that involved treatment but where the patient was not transported to hospital. There were also 243 heroin-related deaths identified over the study period and 93% (n = 225) of those cases were matched with Ambulance Victoria electronic patient care records. Data linkage revealed 31 heroin-related deaths where there had been a recent presentation with a non-fatal heroin overdose to paramedics; however, none of these deaths were related to that episode of care, including for 11 individuals that were treated on scene by paramedics but not transported to the hospital. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the treatment of uncomplicated heroin overdose in the out-of-hospital environment was safe in terms of mortality, irrespective of whether or not naloxone had been administered. In all of the non-fatal heroin toxicity cases attended by paramedics, whether or not transported to hospital, death occurred as a result of a subsequent and unrelated heroin overdose.

KW - heroin overdose

KW - Heroin toxicity

KW - naloxone

KW - treat-and-release

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85048135414&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/15563650.2018.1478093

DO - 10.1080/15563650.2018.1478093

M3 - Article

SP - 1

EP - 7

JO - Clinical Toxicology

JF - Clinical Toxicology

SN - 1556-3650

ER -