Naloxone is used as an antidote for opioid overdoses that can be administered via nasal spray or injection. When administered properly, it blocks the opioid receptors from receiving the drug used effectively stopping the overdose. Depending on the user and the amount of opioid used, naloxone may have to be given in several doses. It is very important to note that naloxone is not a replacement for medical treatment and that you should always call 911 during an overdose. Unlike methadone, naloxone cannot treat addiction, it can only be used to stop an overdose. Also unlike methadone, naloxone is not habit forming and offers no high to the users.
During an opioid overdose, a user may experience a loss of consciousness and slowed breathing which can lead to death. Opioid overdose deaths have been on the rise causing a nationwide epidemic. First responders such as EMTs have used naloxone (the brand is Narcan) to stop opioid overdoses but this is only if someone has called 911. Unfortunately, not every bystander will call for emergency medical responders in fear that they may be prosecuted for possession of illegal drugs. Now, we have Good Samaritan Laws which prevent that sort of prosecution and the FDA has approved Narcan to be available to the public. Now that is accessible to the public, you do not have to be medical personnel to help someone in the case of an overdose.
You can purchase naloxone at your local pharmacy with a prescription from your doctor. In some states, pharmacies will let you buy the product without a prescription. You can search for this information by typing in your zip code here. One of our staff members was able to purchase a 2 pack of 4mg Narcan at a local CVS without using his insurance and without a prescription. The price was in the $100 range and may vary between pharmacies. The nasal spray comes with easy to read instructions with pictures as well as a fact pamphlet.
You can learn more about Narcan nasal spray HERE.