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Evidence-Based Guidelines for Naloxone

Developing and Disseminating an Evidence-Based Guideline for Naloxone

Resources | Technical Expert Panel | Technical Expert Panel Meetings

Nov. 1, 2017

The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO), in collaboration with the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), is leading a project to develop and disseminate an evidence-based guideline for the administration of naloxone for opioid overdoses.

In spite of the dramatic increase in the number of opioid overdose events to which EMS personnel now respond, there remain several unanswered questions about the optimal use of naloxone, including: how to best distinguish an opioid overdose from other non-responsive conditions; when to administer a second dose of naloxone; the most appropriate patient disposition after a return of consciousness; and how to maintain optimal medical oversight to naloxone administration. A primary objective of this project is to answer these questions through a rigorous, science-based approach and deliver an evidence-based guideline and model EMS treatment protocol for the prehospital management of patients with suspected opioid overdose.

The Principal Investigator is Kenneth Williams, MD, FACEP, FAEMS (Providence, RI); co-investigators are Jeffrey Goodloe, MD, NRP, FACEP, FAEMS, (Tulsa, OK) and John Lyng, MD, FACEP, FAEMS, EMT-P (Minneapolis, MN). They will lead a multi-disciplinary technical expert panel comprised of persons with expertise in emergency medicine, pain management, pharmacology/toxicology, addiction management, guideline development methodology, as well as a patient advocate, EMS clinicians and EMS administrators.

The 16-month project will produce the following deliverables:

  1. Model EMS treatment protocol on naloxone administration based on the evidence-based guideline;
  2. Manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, describing the methodology used to develop the protocol with supporting references from the scientific literature;
  3. Performance measures for evaluating the impact of the evidence-based guideline; and
  4. Module for training EMS personnel on the naloxone evidence-based guideline.

The project is funded through support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Office of EMS, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s EMS for Children Program, as well as in-kind support from NASEMSO, NAEMSP and ACEP.

Project Manager
Mary Hedges


Project Coordinator
Zoe Renfro