naloxonePreventing drug overdoses is a top concern in America, as the number of people losing their life continues to grow. There are a number of ways the problem can be mitigated, such as better access to the life saving drug naloxone, as well as better education opportunities for those addicted to drugs like prescription opioids and heroin.

The prescription drug epidemic in America has opened the doors for increased heroin use, an insidious drug that has become more appealing to addicts as the government cracked down on prescription drug abuse. Heroin is cheaper and often times more potent than its opioid cousins; every corner of the country has seen a rise in heroin abuse. Unfortunately, the increase of heroin has not been accompanied by more education regarding the dangers of the drug.

A new study has found that the best demographic to educate on opioid overdoses may be parents of addicts, Medical News Today reports. This is due to the fact that parents of addicts have:

  • Provided financial support for their son/daughter.
  • Daily contact with their loved one.
  • Applied for court-mandated treatment.
  • Witnessed an overdose.

While there has been a lot of news regarding naloxone, a medication that quickly reverses the potentially fatal effects of opioid overdoses, few are trained in how to administer the drug which could save the life of their loved one. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) surveyed a cross section of support group attendees. They found that the most common demographic was mothers of opioid users, according to the article. Many of the mothers primary reason for attending support groups was to find out more on naloxone.

“The high degree of involvement in the lives of an opioid user among attendees is consistent with reported motivations to have a kit in the house for a greater sense of security and improved confidence to handle an overdose,” explained lead author Sarah Bagley, MD, from the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit at BUSM and BMC and a physician in General Internal Medicine at BMC.

“Support groups for families of people who use opioids are promising venues to conduct overdose prevention trainings, because attendees are motivated to receive training and will use naloxone to rescue people when witnessing an overdose. However, further study is warranted to understand how to optimize this approach to overdose prevention in the community setting,” said Bagley.

The findings appear in the journal Substance Abuse.