How Does Narcan Work?

The Recovery Village RidgefieldUncategorized

A small bottle

Drug overdose is now the number one cause of death among Americans under age 50. The United States is the global leader in opioid misuse and overdose. Opioid misuse is a public health crisis, but there is a medication that can stop an overdose in its tracks and often save the person experiencing it.

Narcan is the commercial brand name for naloxone, a drug that can dramatically reduce the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose. Narcan works quickly to block the opioid receptors and restore normal breathing in a person suspected of having overdosed on an opioid.

Narcan for overdose has been credited for saving lives across the country.

Reversing Washington Overdose Rates

Narcan is a tool used to reduce Washington overdose death rates. The latest data is from 2016 and reveals that in that year, there were:

  • 694 opioid-related deaths
  • 435 prescription opioid deaths
  • 287 heroin overdose deaths
  • 87 synthetic opioid deaths

The latest data indicates that more than 27,000 people around the country every year are being saved by Narcan interventions. When people overdose on opioids, they often experience respiratory distress that can be life-threatening.

Narcan binds to the opioid receptors to block the effect of an overdose and restore normal breathing to the patient in respiratory distress. It is both safe and effective and is actively saving lives every day in the United States.

A box of Narcan

Narcan is administered in three ways:

  • Injection: The injectable version, which must be administered by a medical professional with training
  • Auto-injection: The auto-injectible that families or ER staff can use to put the medication directly into the bloodstream of the person experiencing an overdose
  • Intranasal spray: In a prepackaged nasal spray that uses no needles to deliver the medication

Prescribing Narcan as a preventative treatment for at-risk patients may be a more proactive effort that ultimately saves more lives. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 36 states and the District of Columbia have “Good Samaritan” laws that provide immunity to bystanders seeking aid for someone who has experienced an overdose. Washington state has passed such laws.

Washington state’s RCW 69.41.095 says that any person (including a family member) or “entity” (such as a first responder, police officer, homeless shelter, etc.) can obtain, possess and administer naloxone. It also permits naloxone distribution under a prescriber’s standing order.

Finding Narcan for Overdose in Washington State

For people wondering where Narcan is available in Washington state, stopoverdose.org provides a list of local pharmacies that can fill a Narcan prescription. For anyone interested in finding Narcan for overdose in Washington state, there are a number of resources available:

  • Any doctor or midlevel provider with prescriptive privileges can write an order for Narcan
  • Any pharmacies can fill the prescription
  • Some pharmacies in Washington State can even prescribe Narcan for overdose in collaboration with a drug rehab facility
  • Syringe exchange or other community programs can distribute Narcan for overdose

Many medical professionals suggest that Narcan distribution should not only continue but also increase. The drug is both safe and effective in stopping opioid overdoses in Washington and other states.

Help for Opioid Addiction Now

Though Narcan can help save the life of a person experiencing an opioid overdose, it is important to note that more may be needed to truly help those who deal with an opioid use disorder.

Entering into a structured addiction treatment program can help you acquire the resources and tools needed to achieve and maintain long-term recovery from opioid addiction. These facilities can be found in many parts of the United States, including Washington state.

If you are addicted to opioids, do not wait for an overdose to happen before you find help. Contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield to discuss your treatment options today and learn about admission into a comprehensive treatment program.

How Does Narcan Work?
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