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Glendale hospital saw 25% more opioid overdoes. Now, they're being more proactive with naloxone

An emergency physician says his hospital in Glendale is receiving opioid-overdose patients at a pace that would translate to a roughly 25% increase from 2023.

Banner Thunderbird Medical Center is responding by proactively giving out overdose-reversal medication.

Hospital officials are now giving naloxone, brand name Narcan, to patients and people able to help someone at-risk of opioid overdose regardless of how they get the drug. The Narcan the provide is in the nasal spray form.

Also eligible for a Narcan kit are patients and people able to help someone who mixes stimulants and opioids. 

“Our way of identifying potentially more high-risk individuals as we want to try and get the Narcan into as many hands in the community as we can,” said Dr. Dane Caputo.

The first-quarter tally of 85 opioid-overdoses treated at Banner Thunderbird includes fatal and nonfatal cases.

“If the patient has a pulse and is able to breath and maintain their airway, they’re usually able to be reversed nine times out of 10, 10 times out of 10,” Caputo said.

More than 4,500 emergency-room visits in Arizona so far this year have been for suspected opioid overdoses.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.