All Things Narcan: What You Need to Know About the Drug

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Narcan, also known by its generic name naloxone, is an extremely powerful medication used to reverse all opioid overdoses.

If you haven’t heard of Narcan before, now you know what it is. My reasoning for providing this brief definition of the drug to you is this: Opioid drug overdoses are happening more frequently now than ever before in the United States. And ever since these overdoses have become more prevalent, people have wondered if there’s a measure we can take as a nation to stop such deaths from happening.

Over recent years, the answer to that statement (if there’s a measure we can take to stop such overdoses from happening) has been answered, with the answer being Narcan. Narcan has the ability to save the lives of those that overdose from opioid usage. And, Narcan is becoming readily available for anyone to buy in specific local stores or drugstores. Those who use drugs and those who do not use drugs have the opportunity to buy the life-sustaining medication to help addicts grasp a second chance at life, so to speak.

What this article will do for you may or may not change your views on the topic at hand. I’m going to make you aware of all things Narcan so that you can make the decision of whether or not you’d like to carry it on you at all times. Let’s start with what Narcan is.

What is Narcan?

Narcan is a medication that stops the opioid receptors in the brain from working. While the medication does this, it also blocks any effect that drugs such as painkillers, fentanyl, and heroin have on the brain and body.

Let me lay the big picture out for you: When an addict or person is having an opioid overdose, their breathing gets cut off and their heart likely stops. Once Narcan is administered, however, natural breathing is restored.

How does Narcan get administered to a person?

Narcan can be administered in one of three routes. Medical professionals are the only group of people that are allowed to have and use the injectable version of the drug. The other two routes, the auto-injectable, and the nasal spray, are both allowed to be used by anyone who wishes to purchase them.

Where can you get the drug Narcan?

Narcan is available at almost any local drugstore, including but not limited to CVS Pharmacy and Walgreen’s Pharmacy. Both CVS and Walgreen’s have a policy for the drug Narcan; as of 2017, Narcan is to be sold to anyone as an over-the-counter drug, just like Claritin (the anti-histamine for those out there battling hardcore allergies) is.

As a matter of fact, Walgreen’s vice president Rick Gates stated in an interview that he is happy to say his pharmacy sells the drug Narcan to the public. He also states that now loved ones can help their family and friends out in a time of crisis by administering Narcan if it ever comes down to it.

How much is Narcan to purchase?

The brand drug Narcan typically runs around $150 for a package of two doses. However, if you have insurance, the co-pay for the life-saving medication can be as low as $0 and can be as high as $20, depending on the insurance coverage.

Is Narcan controversial? If so, why?

The answer to that question is yes; now allow me to explain the reasoning behind it.

Many people are for the Narcan drug being readily available to the public, mainly because it has lifesaving abilities. However, there are still many people that are not for the Narcan drug being readily available to the public, mainly because it won’t stop the opioid crisis from happening in the United States today. Those that are not in favor of Narcan being available for anyone to access back up their claims by stating that opioid users will use and abuse drugs more often, knowing that resuscitation will be easier than ever before.

What are the main side effects of using Narcan?

Though the drug is life-saving, there are still reactions that may occur after administering Narcan. Not the most common one, but one of the common side effects, is that the drug can produce symptoms mimicking that of withdrawal.

A heroin user, Melissa Tucci, was interviewed on the matter. She stated that she “hates it.” The thing that she hates is the symptoms mimicking that of withdrawal, and she’s happened to have had those symptoms seven times (considering she’s been revived with Narcan seven times already). She also states that her mimicked withdrawal symptoms can be a list of things, including but not limited to, vomiting, profuse diarrhea, extreme sweating, runny nose, runny eyes, and body aches all over.

Yet others seem to think Narcan is a miracle drug, allowing them to start a brand-new life without opioids in their future, unlike Melissa. Former addict Sarah Connolly believes she’s a miracle because she now has a second chance at life.

Is Narcan used often?

There’s no real way to tell how often Narcan is used. To give everyone an idea of how often it is used, I’ll provide some findings from a recent study regarding the matter.

According to recent records, New Hampshire administered an approximate 280 injections of Narcan over a three-month span of time in one single county. Because of this, and because of other states coming close to this amount of injections, police officers and medical personnel are starting to get aggravated with the matter. It happens so often that the same officers and medical staff members are reviving the same people over and over again, at which point they find it a waste of their valuable time.

Narcan does save a lot of lives, but it may not calm down the opioid crisis just yet.

 

By Jenny Lyn