PORTLAND — The MaineHealth system has launched a toolkit to promote overdose awareness and education after research found internal medicine clinics were not consistently prescribing naloxone to patients at high risk for an opioid overdose.

A research paper led by Maine Medical Center physicians David Kispert, Jenny Carwile and Kinna Thakarar, found that between April 2016 and December 2018, just 6% of patients considered high-risk for an opioid overdose received a prescription for naloxone when they visited an internal medicine clinic at Maine Medical Partners, the outpatient division of Maine Medical Center.

“This research is significant because it found disparities of naloxone prescribing based on age, income and ethnicity,” Thakarar said.

The toolkit and video will help providers recognize who is at highest risk of overdose; describe signs and symptoms of opioid overdose; understand the four different naloxone formulations and how to use each one; talk to patients about risk of overdose and about naloxone and locate tools that relate to naloxone prescribing.

The material can be accessed at MaineHealth.org/opioid-education.