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Manufacturer of naloxone atomizers issues national recall, Harford residents should check if their devices are affected

The Harford County Health Department is urging any county resident who obtained a naloxone kit through health department training programs during the past two years to check their atomizer devices to see whether they are affected by a national recall by the manufacturer.
The Harford County Health Department is urging any county resident who obtained a naloxone kit through health department training programs during the past two years to check their atomizer devices to see whether they are affected by a national recall by the manufacturer.

The Harford County Health Department is urging any county resident who obtained a naloxone kit through health department training programs during the past two years to check their atomizer devices to see whether they are affected by a national recall by the manufacturer.

The affected atomizers, which are used to administer a nasal spay to revive a person suffering from a opioid overdose, were distributed from May of 2014 to September of 2016, according to a health department advisory issued Wednesday.

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The recall could affect about 1,200 kits issued during that time period, according to health department spokesperson Molly Mraz. The kits were distributed to people being trained to administer the drug through the department's Naloxone Certification and Training Program.

Funding for the devices, as well as distribution, comes from the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, according to Mraz.

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"While it has been confirmed that some of the corresponding devices have been distributed to Harford County residents and organizations, there have been no reports of product malfunctions," the advisory states.

Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies and municipal police officers carry devices to administer naloxone, when they respond to an overdose call. Heroin addiction has become a plague in Harford County, as well as across the state.

Despite the efforts of law enforcement and public health and local school officials, as well as many elected officials, fatal overdoses in Harford County this year are on pace to be about double those from last year. And, the sheer volume of them is forcing the county's lead law enforcement agency to shift some of its investigative priorities on drug incidents because of the costs involved.

Harford law enforcement has handled 257 overdoses, 50 of them fatal, in Harford so far this year, according to Sheriff's Office spokesperson Cristie Kahler.

Kahler said "only a handful" of the devices issued to the Sheriff's Office were recalled, and the agency has had to replace "fewer than 50" devices.

"We have worked closely with the Health Department to make sure all recalled atomizers were replaced," she wrote in an email Thursday. "There has been no interruption to services."

The MAD Nasal Intranasal Mucosal Atomizer Device is manufactured by Teleflex Medical Inc. Users have made complaints to Teleflex that "certain atomizers" were delivering the naloxone as a stream instead of the necessary "fully atomized plume," creating a risk that the patient will not get a full dose, according to the news release.

Anyone who has a device that could be affected by the recall should check the lot number. Call the Harford health department at 410-877-2355 if you need a replacement.

Lifesaving drug

Police officers respond to every overdose incident reported to 911. The Sheriff's Office and University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health executed a memorandum of understanding in October to obtain data from the health system about how many overdose victims have come directly to a hospital or medical center.

Law enforcement officials have said in the past that many more people would have died from overdoses if first responders did not have Narcan, though.

Law enforcement officers and civilians ages 18 and older in Maryland have been able to get training to administer naloxone since the DHMH launched its Overdose Response Program in March of 2014. The goal has been to get people such as law enforcement, friends and relatives of addicts and staff at drug treatment and transitional housing programs trained to revive overdose victims when EMS is not immediately available, according to a web page on the program.

More than 39,000 people have been through the training statewide since then. More than 41,600 doses of naloxone have been distributed, and 1,313 administrations of the drug have been reported, according to the page.

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Mraz, of the Harford health department, said the medication should not be "exposed to extreme high or low temperatures."

"It is not a controlled substance so it does not need to be locked [away]," she wrote in an email.

Fifty-six members of the Edgewood Boys & Girls Club talked with the parents of Maxwell Landbeck, who died because of drug addiction, during Harford County's inaugural Night of Conversation.

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air hosted its third annual Narcan training class Sept. 28. The local health department handles community training and certifications.

Pastor Craig McLaughlin said Thursday that people can request training sessions from the health department, which he noted has been "more than glad" to accommodate the church.

Mt. Zion hosted its largest class so far during the most recent training session, according to McLaughlin.

His daughter, Hannah, died from a heroin overdose March 24, 2014, at age 19, before the implementation of the state's training program was completed.

McLaughlin is certified to carry naloxone, and he noted his wife testified in Annapolis in favor of allowing Maryland residents to carry the medication.

"I think there's much more awareness," he said of heroin addiction. "I think more and more people are realizing [they] know people who are struggling."

McLaughlin said there were people in the September class who are "concerned citizens" that want to be able to help an overdose victim, even if they do not have a personal connection to an addict.

"They're just concerned and wanted to be prepared," he said.

This story has been updated to reflect corrections that the nasal spray affected dispenses the generic anti-opioid naloxone.



Harford County’s “Choose Civility” campaign kicked off with a breakfast event at the Water’s Edge Events Center in Belcamp on Wednesday.

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