UPMC Physicians Publish Opioid Safety Guidelines for First Responders

By: Cyndy Patton

Amid concerns for the safety of first responders exposed to chemicals like fentanyl, UPMC emergency physicians recently published precautionary safety guidelines for emergency medical personnel who may be exposed to a harmful substance when responding to the scene of an overdose.

The guidelines were developed by UPMC emergency medicine physicians Dr. Michael Lynch, Dr. Francis Guyette and Dr. Joseph Suyama, and published in the September issue of the journal Prehospital Emergency Care.

“We’ve seen multiple reports of police officers or EMT’s and other types of responders potentially exposed to powder with a variety of symptoms that may or may not have been attributable to the drug or powder,” Lynch said. “That further fueled concerns for the safety of the responders.”

The guidelines cover various response scenarios and provide safety recommendations for first responders when they encounter a situation that may be considered high risk for exposure.

To obtain a copy of the guidelines or request additional information, contact the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC at 800-222-1222.