James Bray, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Psychology, is working on a research project with agencies in Houston to train first responders in how to detect prescription opioid overdoses and provide life-saving outreach services.
Bray is working with the Houston Health Department, Houston Fire Department (HFD), Houston Recovery Center (HRC) and Baylor College of Medicine to teach first responders how to recognize overdoses and misuses of prescription pain relievers, heroin and fentanyl and how to properly administer naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
"This project allows us to mobilize existing resources and expertise in Harris County and the City of Houston to not only train first responders how to administer the proper drug to save lives, but to provide outreach and treatment services for people who overdose on opioids through Houston Recovery Center's peer recovery and case management services," said Bray.
Bray explained that opioid addiction impacts millions of Americans from all demographics and this grant will provide opioid overdose victims treated by HFD with treatment services such as, medical assisted therapy, behavioral and psychological treatment and pain management.
The project called, First Responder Opioid Overdose Naloxone Training and Linkage Into Needed Evidence-based Services (FRONTLINES), is supported by a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for four years.
According to the most recent data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, there were 239 accidental poisoning deaths where opioids were involved in Houston in 2015 and 1,174 deaths statewide.