ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – University of New Mexico researchers have developed a new protocol for patients relying on opioid painkillers: having doctors co-prescribe an anti-overdose drug.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that researchers studied 164 patients at the UNM Pain Center for a year and published their findings in the journal Substance Abuse in April.
Narcotic painkillers were responsible for nearly half of New Mexico’s drug overdose deaths in 2014. Many people, however, depend on the drugs to manage chronic pain.
Study co-author and pain center director Dr. Joanna Katzman says researchers found that explaining the use of naloxone to family members and friends of the patients took just 10 minutes. She says that’s crucial because the drug can’t be self-administered by someone experiencing an overdose.