Journal of Medical Toxicology

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 431–434 | Cite as

Expanding Access to Naloxone in the United States

  • Suzanne Doyon
  • Steven E. Aks
  • Scott Schaeffer
Position Statement


Drug overdose deaths have increased steadily in the USA since 1979. During the past three decades, drug overdose deaths have tripled [1, 2]. In 2008, the number of unintentional poisoning deaths exceeded the number of motor vehicle deaths for the first time [1]. Of the 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the USA in 2010, 22,134 (60 %) were related to pharmaceuticals, with 75 % of those deaths involving prescription opioid analgesics [3]. Concomitantly, heroin deaths have risen 55 % between 2000 and 2010 [4]. Deaths from use of fentanyl- or acetyl fentanyl-laced heroin were reported in multiple states in 2013 [5, 6, 7]. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control characterized opioid overdose deaths as an epidemic [8]. Most of these deaths are preventable.

In overdose, opioids, including morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and fentanyl, cause respiratory depression that can lead to hypoxia and, if untreated, death. The exact neuronal mechanisms by which opioids depress...


Naloxone Opiate Opioid Bystander naloxone Overdose 



While individual practitioners may differ, these are the positions of the ACMT, AACT, and AAPCC at the time written, after review of the issue and pertinent literature.


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Copyright information

© American College of Medical Toxicology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Doyon
    • 1
  • Steven E. Aks
    • 2
  • Scott Schaeffer
    • 3
  1. 1.American Academy of Clinical ToxicologyMcLeanUSA
  2. 2.American College of Medical ToxicologyPhoenixUSA
  3. 3.American Association of Poison Control CentersAlexandriaUSA

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