By: Shannon Persad
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What is Narcan, and Why Does it Save Lives?
Luckily, there is a medication that can be used to reverse an opioid overdose. It has saved thousands of lives every year.
While the brand name is called Narcan, it’s the active ingredient is naloxone.
What is naloxone? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
“Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.”
Why Narcan is Necessary Today
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “From 1999-2017, almost 400,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids.” This is why it’s important to have an overdose-reversing medication on hand.
Naloxone, has various forms, such as injection, which is for medically trained professionals.
Narcan is a nasal spray that allows anyone to administer it to anyone suffering an overdose safely. However, it is recommended to have training, which can be for free in a workshop near you. This website offers naloxone training.
The FDA states the importance of naloxone:
“Everyone who overdoses with opioids, whether it is with a prescribed medicine or an illicit drug, needs naloxone. Examples of opioids include heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. Because overdoses can happen anywhere, naloxone is designed to be used by anyone, even a bystander.”
Naloxone is available through prescription at local pharmacies. However, many states are allowing naloxone to be accessible at pharmacies, without a prescription. The ease of access to Narcan and other naloxone type medications has increased, allowing the public to save lives themselves in the event paramedics do not arrive in time.
For more information on obtaining naloxone, click here.
How to Get Help for a Drug Addiction
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction or any other substance abuse, contact ATSI at 1-(855)-498-2121 for a confidential consultation.