New Naloxone Education Toolkit Arms Frontline Emergency Department Staff with Just-in-Time Guidance for Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Intervention

August 3, 2016 Education News
DES PLAINES, Ill. – The emergency department (ED) is on the front line of public health, and has the opportunity to play a critical role in reversing the skyrocketing opioid overdose trend. To aid emergency nurses and providers in combating the widespread opioid epidemic they are faced with daily in the ED, the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) has released its Naloxone Education Toolkit (NET), which is a comprehensive resource designed to educate patients and family members about opioid overdose, advise on the distribution and proper use of naloxone kits, and to provide key step-by-step instructions to implement a custom opioid overdose prevention program in the ED.

Deaths caused by opioid overdoses have skyrocketed in the United States. According to the CDC, in 2014, more than 29,000 people died from heroin and prescription opioid painkillers. Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses, and works by blocking the effect of certain painkillers and heroin, reversing the slowed breathing and unconsciousness that come with an overdose. The U.S. Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 will increase the availability of naloxone, illustrating its importance to combat the opioid overdose epidemic.

"Naloxone and the people who administer it save lives," says ENA President Kathleen E. Carlson, MSN, RN, CEN, FAEN. “Emergency nurses and providers see the impact of the opioid epidemic on a daily basis and need better guidance on how to tackle it. The Naloxone Education Toolkit gives them a 360-degree look at the issue, empowers them to make a difference in their communities and provides clear tactics to set up successful programs in their EDs.”

By compiling best practices and evidence-based approaches from a wide range of resources, including latest guidance from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the NET helps further a national response to the opioid crisis.

With the NET’s resources, ED staff can develop a tailored approach to take action. Through a series of worksheets and specific tasks, users determine how best to raise awareness of opioid addiction signs and symptoms, counter myths about treatment and provide broad guidance regarding access to naloxone emergency kits. In addition, the NET addresses issues that drive the deadliest elements of the epidemic, including a need for stronger Good Samaritan laws to encourage overdose witnesses to intervene without fear of reprisal, as well as a push for hospitals to use state drug-monitoring programs and to standardize tough opioid prescription guidelines.

"According to the CDC, there are more than 80 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Americans," says Carlson. "Opioid prescriptions are at the heart of the overdose crisis, so EDs are in a position to attack the problem on two fronts: by strictly following opioid best practices and by educating their patients and those who care about them."

The NET is available at It is a free resource for ENA members and is available for purchase by non-members for $25.

The NET was developed through the ENA Institute for Quality, Safety and Injury Prevention (IQSIP). The IQSIP also disseminates evidence-based and practice-oriented knowledge through multiple resources, including ENA position statements, topic briefs, white papers, toolkits and topic-focused information updated regularly on the ENA website.

Additional educational resources from IQSIP will be showcased at “Emergency Nursing 2016,” which is the largest conference dedicated to emergency nursing. It offers Education, Networking, and Advocacy opportunities Sept. 14 - 17 in downtown Los Angeles. It features:
  • More than 150 evidence-based educational sessions offering approximately 37 contact hours
  • A new session track focused on trauma education
  • AdvancED: A look into the future of emergency nursing, with state-of-the-art products and interactive manikin emergency simulations every 30 minutes
  • DisastER: A mass casualty incident (MCI) training area in the Exhibit Hall; U.S. Navy Southwest Region EMS Regional Medical Director Dr. Joseph Kotora will share his best practices for responding to an MCI during the Opening Session
  • Hands-on ultrasound and cadaver labs
  • A new Emerging Professionals Lunch, which connects nurses new to the field with each other and with expert sources for career growth
  • An Institute for Emergency Nursing Research Lounge, which affords attendees the opportunity to speak with fellow research-focused peers.
  • Dr. Zubin “ZDoggMD" Damania, who is back by popular demand to headline the Closing Session with his presentation “The Beat of Health 3.0,” which tackles nurse burnout and how to rediscover passion for the work.

Visit for more information on the conference or to register.

About the Emergency Nurses Association

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With more than 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines, and guides emergency healthcare public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at

ENA Media Contact:

Dan Campana
Director of Communications