Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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VA adding opioid antidote to defibrillator cabinets

Veterans Affairs (VA) buildings across the country will soon have naloxone, a prescription drug used to reverse an opioid overdose, added to their automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinets. This comes after a man collapsed from an opioid overdose in a Boston VA building and nearly died before paramedics arrived to administer naloxone.

The VA had to persuade The Joint Commission, the accrediting agency for health care organizations and programs in the U.S., to approve guidelines for the AED naloxone project. The cabinets must be sealed and alarmed so staff can tell if they’ve been opened and they must be checked daily and refilled when the naloxone kits expire.

The commission did not agree to let the VA put “naloxone” on the cabinet doors to alert the public that the drug is inside, but it did allow the VA to affix the letter “N” to cabinets with naloxone inside.

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