The Life Saving Miracle Drug: Free Narcan
Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, has been a hot topic in the last decade. It is a miracle drug that reverses the effects of opioids, proving to be incredibly powerful against opioid overdose.
Basically, it is used to treat opioid overdose, saving lives easily and quickly.
So the thought goes, then, shouldnt it be widely available to anyone and everyone who needs it? Currently, naloxone costs between $20 and $40 per dose and Narcan costs anywhere between $130 and $140 per dose. Even with the generic brand, that can be an unnecessary expense when it comes to emergency overdose treatment.
So many professionals in the mental health field are pushing to provide free Narcan, or at the very least free naloxone, to anyone who needs it.
While this hasnt totally been adopted by all treatment facility and medical centers quite yet, there are many cities and organizations that are making moves to provide free Narcan to people in their area.
How To Respond To An Overdose Using Naloxone
5 steps that could help bring a friend or loved one back from an overdose.1
Step 1: Identify the overdose.
Opioids suppress the body’s urge to breathe. If someone is not breathing or is struggling to breathe, try calling the person’s name and rubbing your knuckles on his or her chest. If there’s still no response, he or she could be experiencing an overdose.
Other signs of overdose are blue or pale skin color, small pupils, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, slow or shallow breathing, snoring sound, and gasping for breath.
Step 2: Call 9-1-1.
After identifying an overdose, get help as quickly as possible. Call 9-1-1. Make sure to say the person is unresponsive and not breathing or struggling to breathe. Give a clear address and location.
Step 3: Give rescue breaths.
Giving oxygen can save someone experiencing an overdose. Perform basic CPR:
- Make sure nothing is in the person’s mouth that is blocking breathing.
- Place one hand on the person’s chin and tilt head back. Pinch his or her nose closed with the other hand.
- Administer 2 slow breaths and look for the person’s chest to rise.
- Continue administering 1 breath every 5 seconds until the person starts breathing on his or her own.
- If the person is still unresponsive after repeating for 30 seconds, you can give naloxone.
Step 4: Give naloxone.
Follow the instructions for the form of naloxone you have â injectable or nasal spray. Don’t forget to give rescue breaths while you get ready.
Step 5: Stay until help arrives.
How Does Naloxone Work
Naloxone is a fast-acting drug used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.
Naloxone can restore breathing within 2 to 5 minutes. When you take an opioid, it affects certain receptors in your brain. Naloxone works by kicking opioids off the receptors in your brain and binding to those receptors instead. This reverses or blocks the effects of opioids on your body.
Naloxone only works if you have opioids in your system, such as:
Experts Hopeful Free Narcan Will Help Addicts
HONESDALE, Pa. — You will soon be able to get a lifesaving drug for people who overdose on opioids.
Pennsylvania is handing out naloxone at 80 health centers across the state on Thursday.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is best known for its ability to reverse an overdose. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is using nearly $400,000 to provide the drug to people like first responders to put naloxone in the hands of people like you and me.
Suzie Frisch heads up the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force. Frisch couldn’t be happier that the state is doling out doses of naloxone free of charge this week.
“It’s another tool in the toolbox, as they say. We have to be able to revive people they have to be alive to get better,” Frisch said.
The task force has trained more than 300 people how to use naloxone the right way and provided a kit to people who want to be prepared for an overdose.
Wayne County Coroner Edward Howell has seen the human toll of the opioid epidemic, and he believes naloxone has started to save lives. 2018 could see the fewest overdose deaths in the county since before 2015 when there were about 17, down to 14 or so this year.
Howell says not everyone can afford to pay for naloxone.
“It’s a gift to a family and it’s a gift to save lives, in a sense to give a second chance to someone battling addiction, who is struggling and striving for recovery. Narcan gives that second chance,” Howell said.
Advocates Say: Narcan Saves Lives
From 1996 to 2015, just under 27,000 people were revived by Narcan.8 And no doubt the number of lives saved will continue to climb as the US Department of Health and Human Services named access to naloxone a top priority in fighting opioid addiction.7
Studies also show a strong connection between community distribution of Narcan and lower rates of death by opioid overdose as well as fewer ER visits related to opioids.7 And for Roger Crystal, creator of Narcan Nasal Spray, the antidote not only provides another chance at life but also a dose of reality that might finally encourage lasting change.9
As someone who has experienced addiction firsthand, Jonathan Goyer explained it this way: Being saved by Narcan offered me that opportunity to reflect on my life. Narcan kept me alive until I wanted to live.10
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Opioid Overdose Prevention Network
In 2019, nearly 50,000 thousand people in the United States died from an opioid overdose. The Opioid Overdose Prevention Network was developed by the NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in partnership with the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to combat this crisis. The program receives real-time, statewide information about drug overdoses from the states police fusion center. This allows OOPN to deploy prevention interventions including trainings and distribution of naloxone to impacted areas.
Who Is Likely To Witness An Overdose
People most likely to witness an opioid overdose include:4
- Those who are at risk of overdosing themselves.
- Loved ones of those who use opioids regularly.
- Healthcare workers or those who otherwise care for or provide services to opioid users.
If you love someone who uses opioids or youre an opioid user yourself, keeping naloxone with you could mean you saving a life or having your own life saved.
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How To Start An Ems Naloxone Distribution Program
Guilford County EMS partners with the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition to distribute naloxone to patients who refuse transport after an overdose.
Opioids, in the form of heroin, were chic in the 1980s among fashion models, musicians and entertainers. Heroin is back again, often mixed with other stronger narcotics like fentanyl that is causing soaring overdose death rates.
The rate of narcotic addiction has also risen with the increasing rate of prescriptions as medical providers try to relieve patients’ pain. Opioid overdoses, in most states, are the leading cause of accidental death, even exceeding motor vehicle collision deaths.
Complex problem requiring a complex solutionDespite the complexity of the problem, legislators, regulators and the uninformed continue to look at addiction as a “choice,” a “lifestyle,” and apparently something very simple to stop. There is a growing backlash and opinion that by increasing access to naloxone that somehow the community is condoning narcotic addiction, that naloxone enables addicts to live their “chosen lifestyle.”
There is no evidence to support the enablement of addiction by increasing access to naloxone. Research points to the contrary. Rapid access to naloxone for overdosed patients has gained acceptance as a stop gap measure to help addicts into therapy. This can be ironically verified by the rapid onset of a major naloxone shortage in this country.
A Brief History Of Insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced by the bodys pancreas to breakdown sugars in the bloodstream. When the pancreas stops producing insulin, the bodys blood sugar levels rise to often dangerous, life-threatening levels. As of 2015, there are 21 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, and 26 percent of them take insulin to survive. One hundred years ago, diabetes was much rarer to find in the population, and for those who had it, it was often fatal. In essence, it was a death sentence.
It is important for diabetic patients to maintain a constant blood sugar level throughout the day.
Canadian researchers Frederick Banting and Charles Best that removed and purified insulin from cows and pigs for use in humans. Early trials of the first insulin were a success. Knowing they didnt have the means to mass produce insulin for public use, they sold the patent for $3.
For over 50 years, animal-derived insulin was the only kind available for use. But in the late 1970s, there was a major breakthrough. Using recombinant DNA technology, drug companies were able to take bacteria and then sequence the DNA to synthesize insulin thats very close to the type created by the human body. Humulin, the first of this kind of insulin, hit the market in 1982.
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Where Is Naloxone Available
Obtaining Naloxone depends on the state and country you reside in. In many areas, a physician prescription is often required, so speak with your doctor if you take Opioids for health conditions and pain management.
In order for Naloxone to be most effective, we need to get it into the hands of people who are most likely to be on the scene of an overdosethey can start the process of reviving the person before paramedics or law enforcement come.
– Dr. Stephen Jones, a researcher and author of the CDCs Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs Providing Naloxone to Laypersons report
Most recently, some areas have allowed the purchase of the medication through dispensing pharmacists or several retail pharmacies. In fact, cities and counties with Naloxone programs in place are showing slower rates in the growth of Opioid deaths compared to those without Naloxone programs. If you are concerned about yourself or someone you love overdosing on Opioids, check with your doctor about local regulations for purchasing Narcan.
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New Website Shows Where You Can Get Free Narcan
LINCOLN, Neb. – A new website is making it easier for people to access Narcan for free in Nebraska.
On stopodne.com, you can enter your zipcode and it shows you a map of the closest locations offering free NARCAN along with resources for treatment centers.
You can get Narcan nasal spray kits for free without a prescription at participating pharmacies. There are currently 44 pharmacies that participate in the program, and more are being added weekly.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health, the Nebraska Pharmacists Association and Behavioral Health Region Systems are behind the Statewide Narcan Program.
Narcan is the brand name for, Naloxone, which is a life-saving medicine that can reverse an opioid overdose. Anyone can carry naloxone and administer it to someone experiencing an overdose.
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Naloxone Safety Harms And Adverse Events Related To Naloxone Administration
One identified systematic review with meta-analysis focused on potential harms after naloxone administration , specifically reviewing literature related to whether naloxone increased the risk of seizures after treatment of tramadol poisoning.
One rapid review aimed to establish evidence related to the effect of naloxone when used for patients with non-opioid toxicity. The review searched the literature to establish whether naloxone may have the same awakening effect in patients with no reported recent opioid use .
A grey literature report by CADTH in 2017 reported on two unblinded randomized controlled articles comparing incidence of adverse events with naloxone administered intranasally using a mucosal atomizer and intramuscular naloxone, including agitation and/or aggression, nausea and/or vomiting, and headache .
Are The Narcan Memes Lying To You
Whether you are in recovery from addiction in New Hampshire or somewhere else, youve seen the meme. If Narcan is free for drug addicts, why isnt chemotherapy free for cancer patients?
Wrapped up in this seemingly harmless little question is a Pandoras Box of stigma, bias, and ignorance, jeopardizing any attempt by recovery advocates to eradicate these shame-perpetuating influences on our view of substance use disorder . So lets clear things up.
First, we should differentiate between life-saving medications and measures, vs. treatment for a chronic and/or potentially terminal illness.
Narcan, which is one of the brand names for naloxone, serves one purpose: to reverse an opioid overdose. Doctors prescribe opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone because they are highly effective pain killers that adhere to the brains natural opioid receptors, sending signals that block pain, slow breathing, and calm the body. However, during an overdose, the lethal dose of opioid molecules signals the lungs to not just slow down respiration, but to stop it altogether.
Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment. It is not used to revive a cancer patient if he stops breathing, or if his heart fails. It is typically administered long-term, over the course of several weeks or even years, to expunge the disease from his body. And yes, it is enormously expensive. Just as treatment for SUD and heart disease is enormously expensive.
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Risk Of Recurrent Respiratory And Central Nervous System Depression
The duration of action of most opioids may exceed that of Narcan Nasal Spray resulting in a return of respiratory and/or central nervous system depression after an initial improvement in symptoms. Therefore, it is necessary to seek emergency medical assistance immediately after administration of the first dose of Narcan Nasal Spray and to keep the patient under continued surveillance. Administer additional doses of Narcan Nasal Spray if the patient is not adequately responding or responds and then relapses back into respiratory depression, as necessary . Additional supportive and/or resuscitative measures may be helpful while awaiting emergency medical assistance.
How Much Does Narcan Cost
Prices for Narcan vary by state and area. Increasingly, there are more available programs for providing Narcan kits cost-free to anyone who wants one, no questions asked. Some insurance providers will cover Narcan purchases. Contact a local pharmacy or health department to find out about local free access Narcan programs.
- Naloxone pre-filled syringe: $35
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Getting Opioid Addiction Treatment
Narcan can save the life of someone who has overdosed on opioids, but it is not in any way a treatment for opioid addiction. Addiction to substances is a complex disease involving profound physical, mental and emotional pathology. In many cases, there is a co-occurring mental health disorder that must be identified and properly treated in order to address the addiction.
Proper and effective opioid addiction treatment should address the underlying physical, mental and emotional conditions, and should be provided by professionals who are specialized and experienced in treating addiction.
The Recovery Village offers comprehensive assessment and treatment programs for addiction to substances and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our treatment programs take a holistic approach to treating the whole person rather than the disease alone, and we have staff with the necessary training and experience to provide first-rate care. Please contact us for a confidential discussion to learn more about treatment for yourself or a loved one.
What Drugs Does Narcan Not Reverse
Since Narcan is an opioid antagonist, it only reverses the effects of opioids. This means that if someone overdoses on any other kind of drug, including benzodiazepines or any kind of stimulant, itâs not going to reverse the effects. It works specifically on opioids only. Itâs not a reversal medicine for all types of drug overdoses, and itâs important for people to realize that.If someone were to mix substances, for example, opioids and benzodiazepines like Xanax, the Narcan would reverse the effects of only the opioids and not the benzos.
While Narcan doesnât reverse the effects of drugs outside of opioids, itâs starting to become common for public health officials to recommend anyone who uses drugs to have access to Narcan. This is because so many drugs, including drugs like Xanax, that are purchased on the streets have fentanyl added in, without the knowledge of the person using the drugs. This is why so many accidental deaths occur, and if a drug has been mixed with fentanyl, Narcan can reverse the overdose.
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Theres No Easy Answer
While Narcans continued ability to halt overdoses without consequence remains to be seen, this much we do know: The opioid epidemic isnt going away. Overdoses will occur, Narcan or no Narcan.
You can equip yourself with knowledge that may prove lifesaving in the future. If you or your loved one struggles with an addiction to opioids, please consider the information below: