Donation Helps Anti-Drug Coalition Save Lives

The Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition and the Prescription Drug Task Force had a September event to raise funds to provide Naloxone, an overdose antagonist drug, to all first responders in Roane County.

As a direct result of the community support received for the Celebrate Hope Benefit, the Anti-Drug Coalition has received a donation of Evzio naloxone auto-injectors from kaléo, a Richmond, Va.-based pharmaceutical company.

In July 2014, Tennessee became the 18th state to pass and support a “Good Samaritan” civil immunity law centered on naloxone, an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The legislation went into effect on July 1, 2014, and has four key components: It grants immunity from civil suit to providers who prescribe naloxone to a patient, family member, friend or other person in a position to assist giving the medicine; it allows the Department of Health to provide training and instruction on how to use naloxone; it requires anyone who may administer the drug to receive basic instruction (including taking a quiz and printing a certificate) on how to give naloxone; and it grants a “Good Samaritan” civil immunity for administering the medicine to someone they reasonably believe is overdosing on an opioid.

“We would not be able to purchase Evzio because of the cost so we are very fortunate to have received this donation,” said Sarah Harrison, executive director of the Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition.

“The Evzio auto-injector is the easiest form of naloxone to administer that we have seen,” she added. “It is easily transportable for our first responders, and it seems to be the safest form for them to carry and to dispose of.”

The cost of Evzio auto-injectors ranges from $690-$4,500 per kit. The donation from kaléo will provide each first responder in the county with an auto-injector. Once the donated supply is depleted, the donations from community members and businesses for the Celebration of Hope Benefit will allow the supply to be replenished with a less expensive form of naloxone that is administered nasally.

Evzio is an FDA-approved naloxone product specifically indicated for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose as manifested by respiratory and/or central nervous system depression and is intended for immediate administration as emergency therapy in settings where opioids may be present, including outside of supervised medical settings.

Evzio is a pre-filled, single-use, hand-held auto-injector that works by temporarily blocking the effect of an opioid, potentially reversing the life-threatening respiratory depression and allowing the recipient to breathe more regularly.

Each device uses voice and visual cues to assist in guiding the user through the process and delivers a single 0.4-milligram dose of naloxone.

“The rising number of overdose deaths from opioid-based prescription drugs and heroin is one of the top concerns for our coalition,” said Harrison. “This product delivers a potentially life-saving dose of naloxone via a simple to use auto-injector system that is easy to carry and administer to someone experiencing an opioid overdose.”

“We are pleased to be making this donation as a part of our commitment to widen access to naloxone,” said T. Spencer Williamson, CEO of kaléo. “We are honored to support the outstanding efforts of the first responder community to help save the lives of those who are experiencing an opioid overdose.”

“With this donation and the generosity of our community, we will have an opportunity to save lives and to decrease the number of opioid overdose deaths in our county,” said Harrison.

Evzio first became available in the United States by prescription in July 2014.

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