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Illicit Drug Emergencies

Illicit Drug Emergencies

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Illicit Drug Emergencies

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  1. Illicit Drug Emergencies ECRN Mod II CE Condell Medical Center EMS System 2 hours CE Credit Site Code #107214E-1211 Prepared by: Lt. William Hoover, Medical Officer Wauconda Fire District Reviewed/revisions by: Sharon Hopkins RN, BSN, EMT-P

  2. Objectives • Upon successful completion of this module, the ECRN will be able to: • Describe the incidence of illicit drug abuse emergencies. • Define the terms substance/drug abuse, drug dependence/addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal. • Discuss the role of poison control centers. • Discuss the routes of entry of toxic substances into the body.

  3. Objectives cont’d • List the commonly abused street drugs and toxic substances. • Describe signs and symptoms of street drug and toxic substances used. • Describe withdrawal effects of typical street drugs. • Describe field treatment options for patients who are under the influence of street drugs and toxic substances.

  4. Objectives cont’d • Describe use of restraints in the patients who has overdosed. • Review the reconstitution of glucagon. • Understand the use of the MAD device. • List the ventilatory rates using the BVM. • Review cases of street drug abuse. • Successfully complete the post quiz with a score of 80% or better.

  5. Incidence of Illicit Drug Emergencies • There is a high potential for EMS involvement in illicit drug emergencies • National Institute on Drug Abuse keeps data • 14.5 million people use illicit drugs regularly • 20 million people have tried cocaine • 860,000 people use cocaine weekly • 11.6 million people use marijuana regularly • 770,000 people use hallucinogens (ie: LSD, PCP) regularly • 2.5 million people have used heroin

  6. Illicit Drug Behavior • Substance abusers are 18 times more likely to be involved in criminal activity • Violent crimes and thefts to support drug habits • Drug overdoses • Accidental • Miscalculation of dosing • Changes in strength of drug • Suicide attempt • Polydrug use • Recreational drug use

  7. Definition of Terms • Substance/drug abuse • Use of pharmacological substances for purposes other than a medically defined reason • Drug dependence/addiction • A craving for the drug, an overwhelming feeling of the need to obtain and continue to use the drug • Tolerance • The need for increasingly higher amounts of the drug to get the same effects • Withdrawal • A psychological or physical reaction when the substance is stopped • Most signs and symptoms of withdrawal are the exact opposite of what exposure to the substance causes

  8. Poison Control Centers • Set up to assist in treatment of poison victims • Provides information on new products and new treatment approaches • Staffed with trained experts 24/7 • Information updated regularly • Consultation can assist in determining potential toxicity to the patient • Can provide definitive treatment information that should be started • EMS can contact them from the field

  9. Poison Control Center240per day/7 days per week 1-800-222-1222

  10. Routes of Exposure • Ingestion • Can cause immediate or delayed effects • Inhalation • Rapid absorption via alveoli in the lungs • Topical • Entry across the skin or mucous membranes • Injection • Can cause immediate and delayed effects

  11. Commonly Abused Depressant Drugs • Alcohol • CNS depressant • Binge drinking equals BAC* > 0.08 (80) • Men – typically 5+ drinks in 2 hours • Women – typically 4+ drinks in 2 hours • Alcohol poisoning • Affects the respiratory center in the brain • Vomiting leads to aspiration & asphyxiation • Sobering up • Need time • Caffeine does not help – really! *BAC – Blood alcohol concentration/content

  12. Alcohol cont’d • < 0.08 (80) - legal limit in Illinois • 0.30 (300) – stupor, passed out, difficult to awaken • 0.35 (350) – typical for coma • 0.40 (400) – coma, possibly death due to respiratory arrest

  13. Alcohol cont’d • BAC continues to rise even after passing out • Alcohol in the stomach and intestines continues to enter the blood stream • A fatal dose can be ingested before becoming unconscious • General signs/symptoms • Mental confusion • Vomiting • Seizures – often related to hypoglycemia • Slow/irregular breathing • Hypothermia

  14. Commonly Abused Depressant Drugs • Narcotics/opiates • CNS depression • Heroin • Hydromorphine • Darvon, Darvocet • Fentanyl • Heroin – most abused of the narcotics • Physical and psychological dependence • Addiction and physical tolerance • Mood swings, severe constipation • Menstrual irregularities • Lung damage, skin infections • Seizures, unconsciousness, coma

  15. Narcotics • Typical signs and symptoms • Pinpoint pupils • No physical pain; rush of pleasurable feelings • Lethargic, drowsy, slurred speech • Shallow breathing • Sweating, vomiting • Hypothermia • Sleepiness • Loss of appetite

  16. Heroin: Background Heroin comes from opium poppy capsules. Heroin is usually injected, but it can be sniffed, snorted or smoked. Typical heroin user injects up to 4 times a day. Intravenous injection provides greatest intensity and rapid onset (7-8 seconds). IM injection produces a slower response (5-8 minutes).

  17. Heroin: Background • White powdery substance • Heroin enters the brain, where it is converted to morphine • Due to needle use, heroin users are at risk for: • HIV • Hepatitis-C • Other bloodborne pathogens • NEW TREND: mixing heroin & fentanyl • Increases number of deaths from respiratory depression

  18. Heroin

  19. Black Tar Heroin Is produced in Mexico Color and consistency of tar resulting from crude processing Most frequently dissolved, diluted, and injected It’s unlikely a white powder heroin user will switch to black tar heroin unless there is a significant supply interruption

  20. Black Tar Heroin

  21. Treatment of Heroin • Environmental safety • Due to the increased risk for Bloodborne Pathogens, PPE is extremely important • Be cautious of any needles that may be hidden from view. This is NOT the patient you want an accidental stick from! • This population has a high incidence of HCV and HIV • ABC’s • IV, O2, & monitor

  22. Treatment of Heroin • Watch for pulmonary edema • In some heroin overdoses this can occur • Respiratory support early! • Ventilate at a rate of 10 breaths per minute • 1 breath every 6 seconds

  23. Treatment of Heroin • Narcan quickly reverses the effects of heroin on the CNS (usually within 5 minutes) • Generally, these patients are not pleased to have their “high” wiped out by Narcan • Administration of Narcan may cause withdrawal symptoms including seizures • If large doses of heroin were used, there could be a relapse when the Narcan wears off • Narcan may be shorter acting based on dose of heroin taken

  24. Narcan (naloxone) • Narcotic antagonist • Used to reverse opioid depression including respiratory depression • May precipitate withdrawal • Watch for seizure induced activity • Field dosing • 2 mg IN/IV/IO; repeated to 10 mg max • In the field in absence of IV site, can be given via MAD (IN) • Give enough to reverse respiratory depression

  25. Heroin…

  26. Fentanyl (Duragesic Patch) • Synthetic opioid narcotic – highly abusive drug • Used for pain control • 100 times more effective than Morphine • Can cause respiratory depression • Reversible with Narcan, supported with BVM • Field administration route • Can be given IVP/IO/IN • Less nausea complaints than morphine • Less cardiovascular effects (ie: less ↓ B/P)

  27. Cocaine: Background • A central nervous system stimulant • Two forms • Powder that can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected • Crack that comes in a rock crystal form that can be heated and the vapors smoked • Effects occur more rapidly than cocaine • Effects more intense than cocaine • Effects do not last as long as cocaine

  28. Cocaine: Background Cocaine is the most potent stimulant of natural origin One of the oldest identified drugs Coca leaves (source of cocaine) have been ingested for thousands of years Is not used medically today due to high potential for abuse and addiction

  29. Cocaine

  30. Crack Cocaine

  31. Cocaine: Pathophysiology • Cocaine related dysrhythmic fatalities occur in patients with low or moderate levels of cocaine use • Tachydysrhythmias most common • Hearts of cocaine users are 10% heavier than non-cocaine users • Increase QRS voltage indicative of ventricular enlargement • Conduction delays resulting in widening of the QRS and prolonged QT segment

  32. Cocaine: Myocardial Effect Regular use of cocaine increases risk of AMI Increased heart rate and B/P results in increased myocardial O2 demand Accelerates coronary atherosclerosis process May also induce coronary artery spasms During withdrawal, may have increased incidence of ST elevation indicating acute MI

  33. Cocaine: Signs & Symptoms Dilated pupils Hyperactivity Euphoria Irritability Anxiety Excessive talking Depression or excessive sleeping Long periods without eating or sleeping Weight loss Paranoia Dry mouth/nose Tachycardia Hypertension Disturbance of heart rhythm Chest pain Heart failure Respiratory failure Strokes/seizures

  34. Cocaine: Agitated Delirium • Common in patients dying from cocaine toxicity • Bizarre and violent behavior • Aggression/combativeness • Hyperactivity/unexpected strength • Hyperthermia • Extreme paranoia • Followed by cardiac arrest!

  35. Cocaine: Restraints • Restraints have been implicated as a contributing factor for user deaths during restraint use with patient lying prone • Sudden death appears to have been induced by a combination of three factors that increases oxygen demand and decreases oxygen delivery • See next slide

  36. The three factors: 1. Cocaine induced state of agitated delirium coupled with police confrontation places stress on the heart 2. Hyperactivity associated with the delirium coupled with the struggling against restraints/police increases oxygen demands 3. The prone position on the cot impairs breathing by inhibiting chest wall and diaphragmatic movement and inhalation of fresh oxygen vs exhaled carbon dioxide

  37. Cocaine: Treatment Make certain the environment is safe Not only is there potential for your patient to become violent, but for bystanders that may be users as well Establish ABC’s Oxygen EKG (12-lead) and monitor continuously IV of Normal Saline at TKO unless need for volume is indicated

  38. Cocaine: Treatment • Frequent vital signs with temperature levels • Monitor temperature often; may continue to rise • Obtain glucose level • Use Narcan carefully in patients with altered mental status • If safe to do so, avoid restraints as this could cause risks associated with hyperthermia • Remove any residual cocaine from nares • Protect your skin from potential absorption

  39. Cocaine: Cardiac Arrest Concerns • Epinephrine • Hyper-adrenergic state caused by cocaine increases myocardial oxygen demand. • Epinephrine has the same effect • Cocaine frequently causes acidosis • Epinephrine loses much effectiveness in an acidotic environment • Benzodiazepines • Benzodiazepines (ie: Valium®, Versed®) are used to control seizure activity

  40. Benzodiazepines • Tranquilizers • Valium® • Librium® • Xanax® • Halcion® • Ativan® • Diazepam (Valium®) may be fatal when mixed with alcohol, opiates, and other depressants • Respiratory depression →resp arrest • Nearly impossible to take a fatal dose of Valium® when not mixed with any other product, especially alcohol

  41. Amphetamines • Stimulant • Benzedrine • Dexedrine • Ritalin • Used by prescription to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) • Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine a component in cold preparation medications • Used as decongestant • Used for illicit manufacture of methamphetamine

  42. Methamphetamine • To control production of methamphetamine from over-the-counter products, controls put in place • Sales of products restricted • Limited quantities purchased for every 30 days • Must be of a minimum age • Must show proper identification • Above controls have contributed to decrease in meth labs

  43. Crystal meth: Background • Dates back to WW II to reduce fatigue and suppress appetite • Crystal Meth is typically smoked like crack cocaine • Can also be ingested orally or injected • Easy to make in small clandestine laboratories • Prior to 1990’s was made using ephedrine • Pseudoephedrine became new ingredient

  44. Crystal Meth

  45. Crystal Meth: Pathophysiology • Causes vasoconstriction as well as bronchodilation • May last up to 4 and 6 hours after a small ingested dose • Effect on the brain is due to norepinephrine and dopamine • High doses of amphetamine can cause palpitations and chest pain with a risk of myocardial infarction

  46. Crystal Meth: Signs & Symptoms • Dilated pupils • Dry mouth • Euphoria • Decreased appetite • Rapid speech • Irritability/Argumentative • Depression • Nasal congestion • Insomnia • Weight loss • Increased HR, BP & Temperature • Restlessness • No interest in food or sleep. • Violence • Paranoia

  47. Crystal Meth: Treatment • Scene safety extremely important for EMS • Extra caution needed if there is suspected meth lab on scene • Highly explosive potential for years due to chemicals used and residue left behind in the environment • Meth lab requires Haz-Mat response • ABC’s • IV, O2, & EKG • Important to monitor EKG continuously due to potential cardiac issues

  48. Meth Lab Recognition • UNUSUAL ODORS – Making meth produces powerful odors that may smell like ammonia or ether. These odors have been compared to the smell of cat urine or rotten eggs • COVERED WINDOWS – Meth makers often blacken or cover windows to prevent outsiders from seeing in • STRANGE VENTILATION – Meth makers often employ unusual ventilation practices to rid themselves of toxic fumes produced by the meth-making process. They may open windows on cold days or at other seemingly inappropriate times, and they may set up fans, furnace blowers, and other unusual ventilation systems.

  49. Meth Lab Recognition • ELABORATE SECURITY – Meth makers often set up elaborate security measures, including, for example, "Keep Out" signs, guard dogs, video cameras, or baby monitors placed outside to warn of persons approaching the premises. • DEAD VEGETATION – Meth makers sometimes dump toxic substances in their yards, leaving burn pits, "dead spots" in the grass or vegetation, or other evidence of chemical dumping.