Opioid overdoses and death continue to be a huge crisis in the United States. Lawmakers, addiction professionals and citizens alike have been scrambling to find solutions that can stem the tide of overdoses and deaths. One solution that has gained in popularity is the drug Narcan. Narcan (also known as naloxone) is effective in reversing opioid overdoses and helps stabilize overdose victims until professional help arrives.
If your loved one is struggling with opioid abuse, having Narcan available for use may be a wise move. This article will outline what Narcan is, its availability without prescription, cost and disadvantages. For more information, contact Drug Rehab Program Journal toll-free today at 1-800-205-1201.
What is Narcan?
As stated in the introduction, Narcan is an opiate blocker drug that reverses the effects of opioid in the body. It works by crowding the opioid out of brain receptors that are responsive to these drugs. Opioids have the ability to overstimulate receptors in the parts of the brain that regulate breathing. With an overdose, the overstimulation can short-circuit breathing and people can slip into unconsciousness.
Narcan is able to block opioids without depressing breathing or consciousness. The drug can be applied as a nasal spray, through injection intramuscularly through the thigh. When administered, people who have overdoses on opioids regain consciousness and are able to talk. However, these effects only last for 30 minutes or so, so it is important to call paramedics immediately after administering Narcan.
When To Use Narcan
If you are able to get Narcan, you must know when to administer the drug to prevent an overdose in a loved one. You must be aware of the signs and symptoms of an overdose. The most common overdose symptoms include the following:
- Loss of color to the face and cold to the touch
- Blue lips/fingertips
- Non-responsive to their name and unresponsive to stimuli
- Slow, erratic or no breathing
- Deep snoring or a gurgling sound
- Slow or stopped heartbeat
Once you are aware of these signs, utilize Narcan immediately. If you have the nasal spray, administer up each nostril. You will need to monitor your loved one very closely. If needed, you will need to administer additional doses until they respond and/or medical personnel arrive.
Is Narcan Widely Available?
Up until a few years ago, Narcan was only available through prescription. However, 46 states have enacted legislation which allows people to obtain Narcan without a prescription. In the remaining states, legislation varies. In those cases, some allow the drug to be prescribed for use on the patient’s family and friends while others only allow the prescriber of the patient to obtain the drug.
Additionally, there are states which community organizations pass out Narcan to those at risk. Check in your community to see what options exist. If your loved one is addicted to opioids, they can obtain Narcan and show you how to use it. You can also ask community organizations in your area who distribute Narcan how to administer the drug.
What is the Cost of Narcan?
In the past, the cost of naloxone has been a barrier to those who seek the drug. Generally, Narcan can run between $120 and $140 for a kit which contains two doses. There are also generic naloxone kits that are available for a cost of $20 to $40. Fortunately, most insurance plans cover the cost of Narcan.
Additionally, many community organizations and public health programs offer the drug free of charge. In order to find programs and places which offer naloxone for free, there are resources The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers a naloxone finderthat allows you to enter your city or zip code and find overdose prevention programs that may offer Narcan for free.
Drawbacks of Narcan
While a powerful tool to help reverse opioid overdoses, Narcan is not a cure. As previously stated, the effects of Narcan are short-lived. Because of that fact, it is necessary to call paramedics right away. Narcan is meant to be used only in emergency situations, and it is not a substitute for drug treatment.
There are also other potential drawbacks of Narcan use. There are some that may feel that addicts may feel they can continue opioid use knowing that could be saved through Narcan. Because of that, they may not seek professional help in dealing with their addiction. Additionally, there are side effects associated with Narcan including fluctuating blood pressure, seizures as well as abnormal brain activity.
Need More Information on Narcan?
Do you need more information on Narcan? Would you like more resources and information on this life-saving drug? Call Drug Rehab Program Journal today at 1-800-205-1201. Our experienced staff will provide you the resources you need to learn more about Narcan.