Partners write book on life-saving drug


Susan DeVuyst-Miller. Courtesy Ferris State University

A pharmacy professor and her students have written a book for health care professionals on the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses.

Susan DeVuyst-Miller, an assistant professor at the Ferris State University College of Pharmacy, and a pair of fourth-year doctoral pharmacy students, Farah Jalloul and Ryan Stankey, wrote the book “Prescription Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education (Pr02NE).”

The Michigan Pharmacists Association and Pharmacy Services Inc. are the publishers.

DeVuyst-Miller said the idea for “Pr02NE” came when she attended an educational session hosted by The Grand Rapids Red Project, a health risk and HIV-prevention nonprofit.

“I asked the Red Project if I could utilize their program as the basis for developing a health care professional naloxone educational resource,” DeVuyst-Miller said. “With their support, I began this endeavor.…I consulted with Dianne Malburg, of the Michigan Pharmacy Association, as I wanted to have the information distributed to as many pharmacists and other health care professionals as possible.

“We donated the book to the organization in exchange for a donation to the Grand Rapids Red Project with each sale of a book.”

Catalyst for change

Previously a social worker, DeVuyst-Miller enrolled in pharmacy school after witnessing her disabled veteran husband overdose from a pain medication interaction 15 years ago.

“My husband was unresponsive. I could not wake him up. He could have died,” DeVuyst-Miller said. “I feel like I am always fighting for my husband’s life.”

DeVuyst-Miller said her goal with the book's publication is to train pharmacists, health care providers and members of the public how to use the drug naloxone safely to “rescue” people experiencing a drug overdose.

Brandon Hool, of The Grand Rapids Red Project, said the organization’s naloxone kits have been responsible for 500 opioid overdose rescues since 2008.

“It is perfect timing to have Ferris College of Pharmacy publish this book as a resource for pharmacists about naloxone now that we have the standing order.”

Standing order

Governor Rick Snyder in May authorized the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue the Naloxone Standing Order, which allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone to Michigan residents who are at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose — or who are family members, friends or others in a position to assist the at-risk individual.

Previously, the only people authorized to administer the fast-acting overdose reversal drug were law enforcement officials and first responders.

The book

The 70-page book includes information for health care professionals, provider-to-patient education, resources and references.

DeVuyst-Miller said “Pr02NE” “reviews the opioid epidemic, controlling pain with opioid medications…naloxone, how to communicate with patients on the previous items and resources for naloxone education.”

The book includes a compilation of various state laws on naloxone use, including Michigan’s standing order.

“Pr02NE” can be purchased online.

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