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Albany Medical Center Collaborates on Prehospital Opioid Overdose Reversals

Often, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and police are first responders to calls for potentially fatal opioid overdoses. In 2012, the Division of Prehospital and Operational Medicine at Albany Medical Center (AMC) realized that a lack of medication to reverse opioid overdoses was preventing emergency medical services (EMS) agencies from providing optimal care to patients.

AMC collaborated with the University of Rochester Medical Center, the Department of Health AIDS Institute, Bureau of EMS and Trauma Systems, the Harm Reduction Coalition, and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, to change the scope of practice for first responders. Previously, basic EMTs could administer only limited medications. The coalition initially trained 2,000 EMTs to administer NARCAN® (naloxone), yielding 200 reversals in the first year. This success changed the scope of practice for all EMTs to include the administration of naloxone.

This collaboration has expanded to include New York State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice Services. New York now has more than 15,000 police officers trained to administer naloxone. Interventions by law enforcement officers have yielded more than 5,000 reversals since the training was implemented in 2014.

For more information, contact Michael Dailey, MD, FACEP, FAEMS, Chief, Division of Prehospital and Operational Medicine, Albany Medical Center, at daileym@amc.edu.