RxAssurance and Cordant Announce Collaboration to Prevent Opioid Misuse Deaths
Two Colorado companies contributing to the national effort to prevent misuse of opioid pain medications, Cordant Health Solutions™ and RxAssurance, have announced a new collaboration to expand and improve use of the life-saving opioid antidote naloxone among first responders, pain patients and family members when confronted with opioid overdose emergencies.
In Colorado, a drug overdose death occurs every nine hours and 24 minutes, and in the past decade, drug overdose deaths in the state have increased 68 percent. Death rates in some Colorado counties rank among the highest in the nation. In 2015, according to the Denver Post, 259 people died from overdoses of prescription opioid pain medications, such as oxycodone, outnumbering all homicides reported in the state.
Cordant owns and operates specialized controlled substance pharmacies in Colorado, Washington and Indiana, and services include the authority to dispense naloxone prescribed by physicians. Naloxone is offered to patients who meet certain criteria that put them at risk for a potential opioid overdose, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physicians sometimes also prescribe naloxone for family members and other care providers of high-risk opioid patients.
“What makes our program different from other naloxone programs is that often we receive a request from our physician partners to dispense naloxone to all of their patients who meet the CDC recommendations for when naloxone should be provided to a patient taking opioids for pain,” said Susan Sommer, president and CEO of Cordant.
RxAssurance has developed a free mobile app in English and Spanish called OpiRescue. The app directs first responders and care providers through a simple five-step process to recognize overdose situations, intervene with naloxone to reverse an opioid overdose, report reversals performed and obtain additional resources.
“With our pharmacies, we are working to get naloxone in the hands of patients on chronic opioids, and we are pleased to collaborate with RxAssurance around its life-saving OpiRescue mobile app and on educating our partner physicians and patients to help them know how to reverse an opioid overdose with naloxone,” said Sommer.
In 2015, OpiRescue won first place in the technology-based Opioid Overdose Prevention Challenge sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). According to Robert J. Valuck, PhD, CEO of RxAssurance, in three months of using the OpiRescue app, first responders have reported more than 150 overdose reversals across Colorado.
Cordant’s pharmacists will provide information about OpiRescue to physicians and patients when an opioid medication is prescribed. Cordant also has an extensive naloxone-access program and reports to physicians on who has and who has not filled a naloxone prescription so clinicians can make sure their patients understand the importance of naloxone and encourage them to download the OpiRescue app.
“Working with Cordant allows RxAssurance to efficiently target opioid prescribers and patients, inform them of the OpiRescue app, and significantly increase the probability that family members and first responders will know how to recognize opioid overdose symptoms and administer naloxone during an overdose emergency,” said Valuck.
Last year, the Colorado attorney general announced a statewide partnership, the Colorado Naloxone for Life Initiative, to expand use of naloxone to help prevent deaths from opioid overdoses. Some 2,500 dual-dose naloxone rescue kits were distributed to law enforcement personnel and first responders in 17 Colorado counties with high drug overdose rates. In addition, the state allocated funds to provide first responders with the OpiRescue app to provide in-field instruction for safe administration of naloxone and to track reversals performed through a secure reporting database.