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Naloxone Distribution and Training for Patients with High-Risk Opioid Use in a Veterans Affairs Community-Based Primary Care Clinic.

Raffel KE, Beach LY, Lin J, Berchuck JE, Abram S, Markle E, Patel S. Naloxone Distribution and Training for Patients with High-Risk Opioid Use in a Veterans Affairs Community-Based Primary Care Clinic. The Permanente journal. 2018 Mar 30; 22.

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CONTEXT: Naloxone distribution has historically been implemented in a community-based, expanded public health model; however, there is now a need to further explore primary care clinic-based naloxone delivery to effectively address the nationwide opioid epidemic. OBJECTIVE: To create a general medicine infrastructure to identify patients with high-risk opioid use and provide 25% of this population with naloxone autoinjector prescription and training within a 6-month period. DESIGN: The quality improvement study was conducted at an outpatient clinic serving 1238 marginally housed veterans with high rates of comorbid substance use and mental health disorders. Patients at high risk of opioid-related adverse events were identified using the Stratification Tool for Opioid Risk Management and were contacted to participate in a one-on-one, 15-minute, hands-on naloxone training led by nursing staff. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The number of patients identified at high risk and rates of naloxone training/distribution. RESULTS: There were 67 patients identified as having high-risk opioid use. None of these patients had been prescribed naloxone at baseline. At the end of the intervention, 61 patients (91%) had been trained in the use of naloxone. Naloxone was primarily distributed by licensed vocational nurses (42/61, 69%). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the feasibility of high-risk patient identification and of a primary care-based and nursing-championed naloxone distribution model. This delivery model has the potential to provide access to naloxone to a population of patients with opioid use who may not be engaged in mental health or specialty care.

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