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Feasibility of bystander-administered naloxone delivered by drone to opioid overdose victims

      Abstract

      Background

      Currently, ≤5% of bystanders witnessing an opioid overdose (OD) in the US administer antidote to the victim. A possible model to mitigate this crisis would be a system that enables 9-1-1 dispatchers to both rapidly deliver naloxone by drone to bystanders at a suspected opioid OD and direct them to administer it while awaiting EMS arrival.

      Methods

      A simulated 9-1-1 dispatcher directed thirty subjects via 2-way radio to retrieve naloxone nasal spray from atop a drone located outside the simulation building and then administer it using scripted instructions. The primary outcome measure was time from first contact with the dispatcher to administration of the medication.

      Results

      All subjects administered the medication successfully. The mean time interval from 9 -1-1 contact until antidote administration was 122 [95%CI 109–134] sec. There was a significant reduction in time interval if subjects had prior medical training (p = 0.045) or had prior experience with use of a nasal spray device (p = 0.030). Five subjects had difficulty using the nasal spray and four subjects had minor physical impairments, but these barriers did not result in a significant difference in time to administration (p = 0.467, p = 0.30). A significant number of subjects (29/30 [97%], p = 0.044) indicated that they felt confident they could administer intranasal naloxone to an opioid OD victim after participating in the simulation.

      Conclusions

      Our results suggest that bystanders can carry out 9-1-1 dispatcher instructions to fetch drone-delivered naloxone and potentially decrease the time interval to intranasal administration which supports further development and testing of a such a system.

      Keywords

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