What Is Narcan and How Does it Help Prevent Opioid Overdose?

Education About Narcan Can Help Save a Life

Learning about Narcan and how it works to prevent overdose can help save a life. When most people imagine a drug overdose, they automatically associate heroin as the cause. Yet, more people in the US die each day from overdosing on prescription opioid painkillers than from heroin. Recent statistics showed that prescription opioid medications were responsible for an average of 38 deaths per day.

For every drug overdose that results in death, many more non-fatal overdoses occur across the country each day. However, the increased availability of medications such as Narcan may also help prevent overdose and many deaths.

What Is Narcan?

Narcan is the brand name for the prescription medication naloxone. The medication is commonly used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

How Does Narcan Work?

Narcan works as an opioid antagonist, which blocks the effects of opioids. Narcan works to restore regular breathing patterns quickly if a person is overdosing on opioid drugs and their breathing rate has slowed dramatically or stopped.

Narcan can be administered as a nasal spray, where the medication is sprayed into one of the affected person’s nostrils. There are two doses of nasal spray in each box.

Alternatively, Evzio is the brand name for the naloxone auto-injection device for home use. Once the device is activated, it delivers verbal instructions on injecting the medication into the affected person’s thigh.

In an emergency, the fastest-acting form of naloxone is an intravenous injection, which must be administered by a trained professional.

Who Can Administer Narcan?

The injectable naloxone liquid needs to be administered by a trained professional and is most commonly used by paramedics and first responders in emergencies.

Depending on which state you live in, the auto-injection device and nasal spray can be administered by friends, family members, or other community members. There are certified courses available from ‘Get Naloxone Now‘ that can teach members of the public how to respond during an overdose emergency and how to administer Narcan safely.

Are There Side Effects From Narcan?

Some people may experience side effects after receiving a dose of Narcan. Commonly reported side effects include flushing, weakness, irritability, sweating, nausea, tremors, and headaches.

As Narcan reverses the effects of opioid drugs, some people may find that withdrawal symptoms can happen suddenly after they receive the medication. Common opioid withdrawal symptoms include abdominal cramps, increased blood pressure, fast heart rate, irritability, runny nose, muscle weakness, diarrhea, and vomiting.

How Do You Get Narcan?

Narcan is a medication, so a physician will need to write a prescription. However, some major pharmacy chains may allow you to purchase Narcan without bringing a prescription with you. You should check your local laws to see whether the pharmacies in your state will give you Narcan over the counter without a prescription.

Paramedics, law enforcement officers, and emergency first responders carry Narcan supplies to treat people in emergency situations. In some states, there are also community-based programs that can distribute Narcan to at-risk families or people.

How Much Does Narcan Cost?

The cost of Narcan varies, depending on how and where it was obtained. Your local pharmacy can provide a more accurate price for providing either the Narcan nasal spray or the Evzio auto-injection. If you have insurance, you can check with your insurance company how much the co-pay amount might be.

If you live in a region where it’s more difficult to access Narcan, the organization at Next Naloxone might be able to send the medication to you at no cost through the mail. For more information on this life-saving drug, contact the medical team at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab or visit any of our many locations in Florida.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.