Deaths from overdose of heroin and prescription opioids more than tripled nationally within recent years, resulting in a significant increase in the number of individuals being treated for overdose in emergency rooms across the country. Fortunately, we now know that an overdose is reversible, thanks to a drug called Naloxone(or brand name Narcan) which is capable of stopping opioid overdose almost instantly. If an individual who is unconscious, blue and not breathing from an opioid overdose, an injection or nasal spray of naloxone will almost guarantee this person to be sitting up and talking in seriously less than 5 minutes. Naloxone is harmless and non-addictive. Even if the drug is administered incorrectly, or to someone who is not currently overdosing, the drug has no effect on them at all.
Naloxone has been around for awhile, but until very recently, it wasn’t in the hands of people who could save the most lives. Only ambulances and hospitals had it. But there has been tremendous progress in getting naloxone into the hands of people who are first on the scene at an overdose. This is a huge push forward in fighting our country’s drug addiction problem because, in most overdoses others are present. These bystanders should be able to get naloxone without a prescription. It’s a lot safer than many other over-the-counter drugs, especially because for the last five or so years it’s available in nasal spray form, therefore no needles are involved.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who witnessed an overdose. At the time, his only option was to call 911 and pray help would arrive to save his friend in time. Fortunately, the paramedics got there and they were able to save his friends life-however, situations like this don’t always have that happy ending. This is why I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be trained on the use of Naloxone and eventually obtained a prescription for myself. To this day, I carry it with me everywhere I go. In working with a population of individuals who are at high risk for overdose, I know there will more than likely come a time when I’ll be capable of saving someones life.
Addiction has never discriminated by social class. With opioid and heroin use exploding, it reaches more and more “good” kids. This is a tragedy for far too many families, mine included. We must continue advocating for the use of Naloxone-because it has, and will continue to save lives.
TIME TO REMEMBER. TIME TO ACT.
INTERNATIONAL OVERDOSE AWARENESS DAY
August 31 2016
Visit http://www.overdoseday.com/ for more information.