According to Monterey County EMS, buprenorphine is one of the most effective treatments for opioid use disorder as it not only reduces opioid withdrawals and cravings but it also reduces the risk of overdose fatalities by up to 50 percent. Narcan, another life-saving medication, is effective at combatting narcotic overdoses but does not address withdrawal symptoms.
Through the new program, paramedics can administer buprenorphine to patients facing opioid withdrawals on their way to the hospital, where they can then be connected to long-term treatment programs. County officials said that providing this medication promptly can make a successful recovery from addiction more likely.
“This is truly an opportunity to meet people where they are and overcome many of the barriers that people face when they need this life-saving treatment.”Reb Close, Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula
“This is truly an opportunity to meet people where they are and overcome many of the barriers that people face when they need this life-saving treatment,” said Reb Close, medical director for Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula Emergency Department. “For years, our EMS teammates have witnessed the devastation that substance use brings to our community, and now they have the opportunity to actively participate in a long-term solution.”
Forn Beuerle, medical director for Monterey County EMS, said the initiative is a “paradigm shift in how we approach and treat addiction, and it provides hope and assistance to patients during a time when they need it the most.”
The program began on May 23 in Monterey County, and is being implemented in partnership with Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.