U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is touting his advisory urging everyone to have naloxone on hand to combat the opioid epidemic.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams talked Thursday of saving lives — just a day after aiding a passenger in a medical emergency on his flight to Mississippi.
Adams wants naloxone available to all families and first responders in the U.S. so that the drug can be used to help reverse opioid overdoses.
“Any one of you can save a life,” he said. “Just like everyone knows about CPR, everyone of you should know about naloxone.”
State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier said Thursday she has just issued an order that makes it possible for any Mississippi family to obtain naloxone. A 2017 Mississippi law paved the way for her order.
Nationwide, more than 175 Americans die each day from drug overdoses — a scourge on track to claim 1 million lives by 2020. Two-thirds of those overdoses result from opioids.
Adams said Baltimore airport officials told him that they respond to an opioid overdose once a week.
Naloxone reverses the effects of those opioid overdoses, which cause the body to stop breathing.
Although the drug has been around in generic form for more than 30 years, the price has skyrocketed in recent years, putting it beyond the reach of some police, first responders, community groups, and families and friends of overdose victims.
President Trump’s commission on combating the opioid crisis concluded that the high price prevented governments and groups “from stocking naloxone at the levels necessary to rescue more people.”
Adams said Thursday that he hopes national conversations about the opioid epidemic can lead to conversations on diabetes and vaccinations.
During a Wednesday afternoon flight from Atlanta to Jackson, Adams tweeted that he was able to assist a passenger with a “medical emergency.”
He explained Thursday that his flight was delayed and sitting on a runway when the crew asked if there were any doctors or nurses aboard. He and two other nurses responded.
“The guy had a dream team,” he said. “That’s what good health care is about — a team.”
He said responding was also about the uniform he wears. The surgeon general oversees the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a group of more than 6,700 uniformed officer public health professionals.
At 3:44 p.m., he wrote, “On my @Delta flight to Jackson, Mississippi (by way of Atlanta), and they asked if there was a Doctor on board to help with a medical emergency — why yes — yes there was. Patient doing well and like a good #USPHS officer, I was glad to be able to assist!”
Delta Airlines tweeted back to Adams: “Hello, Wow! We certainly thank you for volunteering as well as your service. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. *HRO”
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant later tweeted back: “Nice job, Dr. Adams!”
Kate Migliaccio-Grabill, a Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman, later told the Associated Press that a person lost consciousness when the plane was on the ground in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and that Adams and two nurses responded.
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