VA Sending Home 'Overdose Kits' With Veterans

Posted at 4:08 PM, Aug 01, 2018

In an effort to prevent overdoses, the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System is sending home kits that include Naloxone and a guide how to use it.

With no charge to the veteran, the VA sends two nasal sprays to stop an opioid overdose. Since 2014, the VA has prescribed 4,000 of these kits.

"An overdose happens when opioids shut down the breathing drive in the brain. This medication can reverse those effects and restore breathing," said Dr. Michelle Colvard, a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at the VA. "Anyone who is struggling with opioid addiction is offered a Naloxone kit if they're receiving treatment here."

The VA in Murfreesboro has a variety of resources for veterans who need treatment for addiction or chronic pain. Colvard knows that often times patients can relapse from their treatment.

Dr. John Jackson, chief of staff of the VA's mental health division, said they've had a strong focus on combating overdoses and are on the forefront of treatment.

"We're on an assault, trying to eliminate narcotic overdose," said Dr. Jackson.

The kit comes with an easy to follow guide since much of the time, the people to prescribe the naloxone are family members or other people in recovery.

"If someone is prescribed an opioid, it would be someone that they live with or someone that they're close with realizing that they're overdosing, knowing what the Naloxone is and then using it to save their life before calling 911," said Colvard.