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Heroin Overdose Rescue Kits to Be Made Available

Originally published on Mercy Dubuque’s News Page. Helping Services has been partnering with Mercy Medical Center and other community agencies and individuals to address the local heroin epidemic. As Sue Greene, one of our Community Prevention Specialist on staff, says, “This is HUGE!”

Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Family Pharmacy to offer heroin overdose rescue kits – Dubuque Mercy Health Foundation pledges $20,000 to help cover cost of rescue kits

Mercy Medical Center is committed to the overall health and wellbeing of our community. As part of our ongoing efforts to combat the heroin epidemic, Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Family Pharmacy today announced that they will begin distributing overdose rescue kits containing naloxone (Narcan®), the drug that can prevent heroin or opioid overdoses from being fatal.

A new state law, signed by the governor in April, expanded naloxone access to first responders and family members of those suffering from opioid addiction. The Iowa law requires a prescription for the purchase of naloxone. Waivered physicians Dr. Thomas Boxleiter, Dr. Umesh Chakunta, and Dr. Adib Kassas, of Medical Associates Clinic, are writing naloxone prescriptions for patients engaged in medication assisted treatment services. Additionally, Dr. Boxleiter is executing a collaborative agreement with Mercy Family Pharmacy pharmacists to make naloxone overdose kits available to all those who need it in the community.

“Access to naloxone is critical in reducing heroin and opioid overdose deaths,” says Kay Takes, president of Mercy Medical Center. “We encourage anyone who has a loved one who uses heroin or other opioids to pursue the training and prescription for this life-saving treatment.”

Naloxone rescue kits can be accessed in one of two ways:

  1. For individuals who are enrolled in medication-assisted treatment services (suboxone therapy) though Mercy Turning Point Treatment Center or Substance Abuse Services Center (SASC), kits will be funded through a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) grant awarded to Mercy Medical Center to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. For information about enrolling in medication-assisted treatment, call Mercy Turning Point Treatment Center at 563-589-8290 or Substance Abuse Services Center at 563-582-3784.
  2. Iowa residents can obtain a naloxone rescue kit by attending a required, 30-minute training session at Mercy Medical Center – Dubuque. The training includes information on when and how to administer naloxone, how to perform rescue breathing, and time to ask questions. Upon completion of the training, attendees can present their certificate of completion at Mercy Family Pharmacy located at Mercy Medical Center, 250 Mercy Drive, to receive the two-dose naloxone rescue kit.

Naloxone rescue kit training sessions will be held at Mercy Medical Center and are scheduled for:

  • Friday, August 5 at 12 p.m.
  • Monday, August 15 at 6 p.m.
  • Monday, August 29 at 12 p.m.

Subsequent dates will be added. Classes are free, but registration is required at www.mercydubuque.com/events or 563-589-9600.

In addition, the Dubuque Mercy Health Foundation has pledged $20,000 to cover the cost of naloxone rescue kits distributed from Mercy Family Pharmacy for those who cannot afford to purchase a rescue kit.”This epidemic has touched families and individuals from all walks of life,” said Malissa Sprenger, coordinator of Mercy Turning Point Treatment Center. “We are truly grateful to our foundation board. Their financial commitment means that this life-saving treatment will be readily available to anyone who needs it.”

Access to the naloxone rescue kits in Dubuque is the result of a community-wide response to a spike in heroin-related deaths in the area. A group of medical professionals, community leaders, and social service agencies have been meeting regularly since April to work on solutions to the heroin epidemic. The group includes representatives from Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Family Pharmacy, Medical Associates Clinic, Dubuque Mercy Health Foundation, Crescent Community Health Center, Substance Abuse Services Center (SASC), Helping Services for Northeast Iowa, the City of Dubuque, and State Representative Chuck Isenhart.

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