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

Nathan C. Stam*, Jennifer L. Pilgrim, Olaf H. Drummer, Karen Smith, Dimitri Gerostamoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

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)1135-1142
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Toxicology
Volume56
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018

Keywords

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

Cite this

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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",
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Catch and release : evaluating the safety of non-fatal heroin overdose management in the out-of-hospital environment. / Stam, Nathan C.; Pilgrim, Jennifer L.; Drummer, Olaf H.; Smith, Karen; Gerostamoulos, Dimitri.

In: Clinical Toxicology, Vol. 56, No. 11, 02.11.2018, p. 1135-1142.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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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 - 2018/11/2

Y1 - 2018/11/2

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

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U2 - 10.1080/15563650.2018.1478093

DO - 10.1080/15563650.2018.1478093

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SN - 1556-3650

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