Blue Cross training people on how to administer overdose-reversing drugs

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts on Thursday announced a pilot program to provide the overdose-reversing drug naloxone to three employers and a union, and to train employees in its use. With the powerful synthetic fentanyl now prevalent in the illicit drug supply, people die quickly when they overdose, said Scott G.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts on Thursday announced a pilot program to provide the overdose-reversing drug naloxone to three employers and a union, and to train employees in its use. With the powerful synthetic fentanyl now prevalent in the illicit drug supply, people die quickly when they overdose, said Scott G. Weiner, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and director of the Brigham Comprehensive Opioid Response and Education Program. That makes a fast response especially critical, he said. Administration of naloxone is now part of the basic life-support training that emergency medical technicians undergo, Weiner said. But he also gets requests from laypeople; Weiner and two other Brigham physicians recently provided naloxone training to nonmedical staff at the Massachusetts Medical Society and to the administrative staff in their office building. The participants in the Blue Cross naloxone pilot are companies whose employees are covered by Blue Cross health insurance. Participants will receive tool kits containing two doses of naloxone nasal spray, a surgical mask and gloves, and instructions on administering the medication. Blue Cross will also provide training and has created an online resource center with information on opioid use disorder and treatment. The Department of Public Health is providing "master trainers" to teach others how to provide naloxone training.