Where to Get Narcan and How to Use it
The opioid epidemic has taken its toll. However, after years of opioid related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania, there has been a decrease largely as a result of increased access to naloxone Narcan. You may want to consider learning more about Narcan, where to get it, and how to administer Narcan even if you are not a drug user or around someone who is. It could potentially save a life, even for those under prescription opioids.
What is Narcan?
Narcan (generic name is naloxone) is a potentially life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Opioids and prescription opioids are a depressant that can slow down the central nervous system, which can slow or even stop breathing and lead to death. Narcan works by blocking the effects of opioids from the opioid receptors in the brain and allows the person to start breathing normally again.
Where to Get Narcan
Pharmacies are prescribing and dispensing naloxone (Narcan). You can get it for emergency preparedness, even for free, from any pharmacy without a prescription. They can also teach you how to administer Narcan. Many community-based organizations also offer Narcan in person or by mail for emergency preparedness. Law enforcement and Emergency Medical Responders (EMTs) also carry and administer Narcan for reversing an opioid overdose. You can also look online on a naloxone finder site.
How to Use Narcan
You can talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about how to administer naloxone for overdose reversal. You can also take online training ahead of time. Narcan comes as a nasal spray and is easy to administer. Once removed from its packaging, tilt the person’s head back while providing support under the neck. Gently insert the tip of the nozzle into one nostril and press the plunger firmly to give the dose of naloxone. It should work almost immediately to reverse an overdose, so if the person does not respond, administer a second dose of naloxone. Narcan only works for 90 minutes so you still need to call 911 and have the person transferred to an emergency room. Narcan will not harm a person if they are not having an opioid overdose, so even if you are not sure they are having an opioid overdose you should still administer the Narcan.
Who Should Have Narcan?
Anyone who is a U.S. citizen over 18 can buy Narcan from pharmacies without a prescription. Consider carrying naloxone if you or someone you know is at risk for opioid overdose, especially if you or that person is in outpatient rehab for an opiate addiction. EMTs and law enforcement also carry and administer lifesaving naloxone.
Many street drugs are being cut with fentanyl, a highly potent opioid, and are causing accidental opioid overdose. So even if you or the person you know is using non-opiate drugs, you may still want to have it on hand. You may also want to carry a fentanyl test strip. It can also help reverse an accidental opioid overdose of prescription opioids, like Percocet. If you or someone in your home is being prescribed opioids, it may be a good idea to keep it on hand.
Signs of an Opioid Drug Overdose
Some of the signs of an opioid overdose can include:
- Extreme sleepiness or unresponsiveness after shaking the person or giving them direct commands
- Slow, absent or irregular breathing and pulse
- Purple or blue lips or fingernails
- Low blood pressure
- Nonreactive or “pinpoint” pupils
Always call 911 when you suspect an opioid overdose.
Opioid Overdose Prevention
The best way to prevent an opioid overdose is to avoid taking any opioids. If you have a prescription, make sure you are following dosages correctly and never take more than prescribed. All types of opioids are highly addictive and if you or someone you know has an opioid use disorder, getting professional substance abuse help could save their life. At DayBreak Treatment Solutions, we offer opioid use disorder help through our drug abuse treatment program which may include opioid use disorder detox, inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization program and outpatient rehab. Please give us a call today if you would like to know more about our opioid addiction program or our alcohol and other drug addiction programs. Call us today at (844) 695-0083 for more information.