PITTSBURGH, April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gateway Rehab and the Kenneth S. Ramsey, PhD Research and Training Institute today expanded its Naloxone: Increasing Access, Saving Lives research project to include outpatient locations. A $50,000 grant from the Staunton Farm Foundation made expansion of the research project possible.
The yearlong research project, which provides overdose prevention and education to patients and their family members upon completion of treatment and enrollment in the research project, provides naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, to participants of the research project. Naloxone is a prescription drug that reverses an opioid overdose, which typically is caused by heroin or prescription pain medication. Often known by the brand name Narcan®, naloxone carries no risk for misuse since opioids must be present in the body for it to have an effect.
Participants of the study and their family members learn how to prevent and identify an overdose and, if an overdose should occur, administer properly intranasal (i.e., needleless) naloxone. Participants of the study must commit to monthly follow-up appointments with Research and Training Institute staff for six months following completion of treatment.
Dr. Cara Renzelli, vice president of Research and Clinical Training at Gateway Rehab, leads the research project from the Kenneth S. Ramsey, PhD Research and Training Institute at Gateway Rehab, which she also oversees.
"Although great strides have been made recently in increasing naloxone's availability, there is relatively little research available on the public's awareness of the medication and the circumstances surrounding overdoses," said Renzelli. "We are thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to expand our treatment services by engaging patients and families in research, and to enhance recovery by providing this life-saving medication."
The Staunton Farm Foundation, whose mission is to improve the lives of people who live with mental illness and or substance use disorders, awarded Gateway Rehab the $50,000 grant to continue and expand the project in its 10 regional outpatient locations. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) awarded Gateway Rehab $113,900 in February to launch the project in its adult inpatient programs. These grants strengthen the organization's overall effort to stem the rising tide of overdose deaths involving heroin and prescription opioid drugs.
"We are experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction that is devastating the lives of thousands of individuals and families in our community," said Dr. Neil Capretto, Gateway Rehab's medical director. "Unfortunately, it is resulting in a record number of drug overdose deaths. Gateway's decision to develop and implement such an innovative program with naloxone will not only save lives but will also keep alive the opportunity for recovery from the disease of addiction. As long as there is life, there is hope."
Since 2010, approximately 1,300 people died of drug overdoses in Allegheny County, with other surrounding counties reporting increases in fatalities during that same period. Allegheny County data show that heroin or prescription opioids were among the most common drugs recorded on death certificates since 2008. Most recently, the City of Pittsburgh saw 10 drug overdoses involving heroin in a 24-hour period, two of which were fatal.
Since 1972, Gateway Rehab has been and will continue to be a positive force in the prevention, treatment, education and research of addictive diseases. With locations throughout Western Pennsylvania and Ohio, its mission is to help all affected by addictive diseases to become healthy in body, mind and spirit. For more information about Gateway Rehab, visit www.gatewayrehab.org.
Established in 2012, the mission of the Kenneth S. Ramsey Ph.D. Research and Training Institute at Gateway Rehab is to advance knowledge and build expertise in the treatment of addictive diseases through innovative research and training. At Gateway Rehab, research and training are integral components of treatment.
SOURCE Gateway Rehab