Overdose prevention can save lives
Avera is using technology to offer access to a drug that can save lives in the face of the national opioid-abuse epidemic. Using Avera’s virtual-visit application for smart phones, AveraNow, individuals can get education and electronic prescriptions for the drug, naloxone, which can be used in the case of an opioid overdose.
The technology can provide access to the anti-overdose drug to those people in need.
“Accessibility to naloxone can help save lives, and while the drug is not a cure, it can save the lives of individuals who face opioid overdose,” said Avera Medical Group family medicine physician Jason Knutson, DO.
“Offering access to the drug via AveraNow makes it easier for anyone — regardless of where they live — to gain access to this drug that can provide a level of safety.”
AveraNow allows anyone with a personal computer or smart phone to speak with a physician or advanced practice provider in real time. Those health care professionals can be reached any time of day, and this easy access should help people who need the drug, especially in rural settings where a pharmacy or doctor’s office could be miles or hours away.
Avera and Hy-Vee pharmacies in South Dakota also provide naloxone without a prescription.
Knutson stressed that improving access to naloxone does not necessarily eliminate the threat of this national opioid epidemic. But if people can talk to a provider with ease, learn about the drug’s use and have it as a safety precaution, then AveraNow’s role adds significant value as a public safety tool.
“Naloxone buys a person time, and it can prevent deaths,” he said.
“It provides a distinct safety mechanism in the case of an overdose, giving that person another chance. Without it, the outcome could be much less positive.”
AveraNow users are reminded that while the application is a free download, they must register as a user and will be charged $49 for the virtual visit where they receive the prescription.
“The AveraNow virtual visit can also help people with referral services in the case of an emergency, or in some cases, referral services to clinical behavioral health services that can aid individuals who may face addiction to these powerful drugs,” said Knutson.
You can access AveraNow online at AveraNow.org.