Dec. 18 (UPI) -- To help combat the nation's opioid epidemic, the American Heart Association has introduced two courses designed to train lay responders and healthcare providers on how to give immediate care for overdose victims.
"As the provider of resuscitation training for more than 90 percent of U.S. hospitals, the American Heart Association is stepping into this crisis and filling the need in standardized education for healthcare professionals," said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, the chief medical officer for prevention at AHA, in a news release.
Opioid Education for Healthcare Providers is available now online, while the second course, Opioid Education for Non-Clinical Staff and Lay Responders, will be online starting Friday.
The healthcare providers course -- for EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physicians and additional mid-level healthcare providers -- costs $20 and educates users about the about the opioid epidemic, opioid-use disorder and how to administer naloxone, which blocks the effects of an opioid overdose.
The lay responders -- self-directed bystanders -- course will teach users how to recognize and treat opioid overdoses through a variety of methods, including with CPR and reversal agents like naloxone.
The AHA's move to provide opioid education grew earlier this year after a conversation among the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, a group 40 CEOs across industries. The group called on employers to partner with healthcare plans, pharmacy benefit managers and employee assistance program providers to redefine the appropriate use guidelines for prescription drugs.
"Arming as many people as possible with up-to-date, practical knowledge on what to do -- both immediately and as follow up -- is imperative to saving lives and improving outcomes," Sanchez said.