Surgeon General urges friends and families of addicts to carry naloxone

Surgeon General urges friends and families of addicts to carry naloxone

Surgeon General Jerome Adams urges friends and family members of anyone at risk of opioid overdosing to carry the OD-reversal drug naloxone.

In a speech to the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta recently, Adams’ said that more than half of all opioid overdose deaths occur at home.

When someone overdoses on opioids, time is of the essence – even more so with the super-opioids fentanyl, carfentanil, and other fentanyl derivatives.

“You don't have to be a policeman or a firefighter or a paramedic to save a life,” he said. The idea is that more people can be saved if more people have naloxone at hand.

Paramedics and most city police officers now carry naloxone routinely, and the practice is spreading. But too often they’re just a little too late to save a life.

Easy to use

Adams said he hopes those who are at risk, and their friends and family, will obtain and keep the antidote on hand – and learn how to use it. He compares it to other life-saving interventions such as knowing how to use an EpiPen to reverse a dangerous allergic reaction, or simply knowing how to perform CPR. “It’s easy to use, it’s lifesaving, and it’s available throughout the country fairly easily,” Adams said.

While is it true that community action groups are working to make it more accessible and affordable, we suggest that you check with your local pharmacy and with your local drug prevention coalition to get more local information.

There were 42,000 opioid OD deaths in 2016, and those stats are rising, the CDC reports. Since then, ER visits for suspected ODs have increased by 30 percent, the CDC says, and the opioid crisis shows few signs of letting up.

“It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the acting director of the CDC.

Cost is often covered

The price of naloxone has been rising recently, and that has become an issue for some institutions, and local and state agencies. However most individuals can cover it fairly cheaply with insurance and drug company discounts. Also, some local health departments cover the cost, so check that out too.

To help combat the opioid epidemic, naloxone has been made available at several retail drug chains without a prescription, as we reported recently, including CVS and Walgreens.

The drug – usually provided as the brand name NARCAN – comes in an easy-to-use nasal spray atomizer. It comes two in a pack, and that’s a good idea because fentanyl can often require at least two applications to get a victim breathing again. In fact, ER personnel report needing several to deal with that powerful and deadly opioid.

If you or someone you care for is at risk of an opioid overdose, it’s vital to pick up some Narcan right away and keep it handy. But it’s even more vital to get free of drugs and free of the constant threat of overdose and all the other dangers of addiction. Don’t hesitate to call Novus for the help you need to get your life back.

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