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Release Date: 02/18/2015
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, has started distributing naloxone, more commonly referred to as Narcan, to patients who are being treated for a drug overdose or are at risk for an overdose in its Emergency Department.

Clinical staff in the Emergency Department follows normal protocol for an overdose patient, giving consenting patients a Narcan kit before discharge. The kits contain a syringe and nasal atomizer with the medication, which can reverse the effects of an overdose from an opiate such as heroin or OxyContin.

Patients are also able to consult with on-call recovery coaches made available through The Providence Center (TPC), also a Care New England member, on weekends. TPC staff is available in the Emergency Department during the week for patient education and outpatient treatment referral.

“Opiate overdoses and deaths from overdoses is a serious concern in the State of Rhode Island and we at Memorial want to be sure we can help these patients as quickly and effectively as possible. This collaborative project by our emergency department and pharmacy will fill a critical void in this area, help us save lives, educate people and hopefully reverse the trend,” says Ewa Dzwierzynski, PharmD, BCNSP, pharmacy site manager at Memorial.

The move comes just months after Care New England partners Butler and Kent hospitals became the first in the state to start offering Narcan kits in the emergency room. First responders also use the drug in the community, and it is available without a prescription at all CVS and Walgreens locations.

About Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island

Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, serves as the major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the chief site for the medical school's primary care academic program. Research focuses on primary care and disease prevention, including osteoarthritis, heart disease, cancer, pulmonary function, maternal and child health and women’s health issues.

Memorial provides health services for the people of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts including oncology, cardiovascular, orthopedics, rehabilitation, pain management, and diagnostics. Memorial offers primary care services in Pawtucket, Central Falls and Plainville, Massachusetts.