A new study released today shows the importance of EMS data in estimating the public health burden of opioid overdose and can help emergency responders, public healthcare organizations and community organizations target and evaluate prevention and strategies to address the epidemic.
The report, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), was authored by researchers at the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS. Researchers found that the rate of EMS naloxone administration events increased by 75.1% from 2012 to 2016, mirroring the 79.7% increase in opioid overdose mortality in the U.S. during this time. There also was a trend of increasing naloxone administrations and deaths in persons aged 25-34 years.
“This important work shows the National Registry has an impact beyond the test you take,” said Dr. Robert Swor, Board Chair for the National Registry. “EMS professionals can contribute to and participate in research on a daily basis. The work EMS professionals put into documentation directly contributes to improving public health in our communities.”
While naloxone administration is not a perfect predictor of an opioid overdose, this report demonstrates that data from the National EMS Information System’s (NEMSIS) National EMS Database could be a valuable tool in finding ways to prevent future overdoses and overdose deaths.
The National Registry of EMTs has an active research department and a unique EMS Research Fellowship – an opportunity for EMS providers to be trained to perform research while obtaining a doctoral degree at The Ohio State University. Under the direction of Dr. Ashish R. Panchal, the research team partnered with researchers at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to perform this work.
The MMWR and the complete study can be found here.