How Narcan Reverses Heroin Overdoses
Everyting You Need to Know About Narcan
Narcan is one of the most important tools available to emergency medical care providers and even police officers today. It is also one of the most expensive and taxing types of drugs available in the fight against addiction. Narcan remains a very important part of saving lives, but it is not the cure to this epidemic. When our patients come in to see us at Lumiere Healing Centers, our goal is very specific to help them recover from their addiction to heroin.
If your loved one is suffering an overdose right now, call 911 immediately. Once the individual receives immediate medical care, long-term recovery begins through detox and therapy. We can help you and your loved one a Lumiere Healing Centers.
What Is Narcan?
Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a type of opiate antidote. Opioids are addictive drugs that include heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone, and Vicodin. When Narcan is administered to a person suffering an opioid overdose, the medication works nearly immediately to stop the effects of the drug. It can reverse an overdose in some people. Narcan is not a prescription medication that can make a person get high.
How Does Narcan Work?
Narcan works to stop the opiate receptors in the brain. This is a powerful tool because it can even help if the opioids are consumed with alcohol or other drugs. It is common for a person who is overdosing on opioids to stop breathing or for their breathing to become very slow and hard to find. It may seem impossible to wake the person suffering from this condition as well. When this happens, the individual is at a high risk of dying from the ingested drugs. Once Narcan is administered to the individual, the person’s breathing begins to improve right away.
It only takes Narcan about 5 minutes to become working. If it fails the first time, medical professionals may need to administer it more than once. The medication begins to wear off after about 30 minutes. Within 90 minutes, it is generally gone. During this time, the body has been able to process the drugs enough that it may no longer impact health. However, long-acting opioids or very large doses can cause a recurrence of overdosing symptoms after the initial treatment.
If a person has taken opioids but is not overdosing on it, Narcan will immediately place that person in withdrawal. This is very uncomfortable and can be painful. However, it is not life threatening. Still, this individual should seek medical care.
What to Do If Someone is Overdosing
If your loved one or another person near you is overdosing, and you cannot wake that individual, your first step will be to call emergency medical care immediately. Narcan is not a substance that is available to those without a prescription but many police departments and emergency care workers will have this readily available to administer. Try to keep the person’s airway open as you wait for care. It is essential to get the person care immediately. Do not drive that person to a medical facility but instead, call for help. Brain damage occurs within just a few minutes of an overdose like this due to the lack of oxygen reaching the individual’s brain.
Narcan is becoming more accessible to public health professionals. Individuals who are experiencing an overdose should call 911 to access this care.
Narcan’s Cost and Demand
Narcan has become a life-saving tool. While we can appreciate that value, it is important to consider the impact it has. In Ohio, for example, there is an incredible epidemic of heroin overdoses occurring. Many of these people receive Narcan as a treatment for their immediate overdosing, but they need it again the next time they overdose. It is not uncommon for emergency rooms to see the same person come in for overdosing and needing Narcan treatment multiple times in a week.
Many people do not make it long enough to get Narcan. Remember, it takes only a few minutes for this drug to cause serious brain damage. In fact, in one community in Stark County, so many people are dying from overdoses that the Ohio Emergency Management Agency had to seek out cold-storage trailers to help with overflow at the local morgue. The Ohio Department of Health reports that 2590 people died of an opioid overdose in 2015. This is a 775% jump in the number of deaths from 2003.
From 1996 through 2014, Narcan kits were used 27,000 times to reverse overdoses across the country. This medication costs between $15 for a genetic product up to $2,000. Injectable products, like those used by emergency departments, cost even more.
Narcan Isn’t a Cure
Perhaps the most important factor for individuals to consider is that Narcan cannot cure the addiction that opioids cause. As noted, many people will overdose and need to use this medication on a recurrent basis, creating a very lethal situation. In some situations, those who know they are going to use opioids will take steps to have illegal access to Narcan available so that a friend can revive them if necessary. This is highly risky and never safe.
Finding a Solution for Your Loved One
If your friend or family member is abusing opioids, or you’ve found evidence of Narcan, it’s important that the individual seeks out help. This help is not just in the form of medical treatment for the immediate overdose. After the individual is safely revived, it becomes necessary to implement treatments that are much longer lasting including detox and treatment.
At Lumiere Healing Centers, we offer a medically-supervised detox program that can help patients to recover. It’s essential to give individuals who are dependent on the use of opioids another solution. It is often impossible for individuals to stop using these drugs on their own. Their body demands it to function properly. And, it is very common for individuals to need increasingly larger doses to continue to get the same feeling of high or relief. This is where overdosing occurs. Narcan works as an immediate treatment, but long-term rehabilitation is the best option for overcoming this addiction.
Lumiere Healing Centers offers the care individuals need to restore their life and learn how to overcome their addiction. A customized treatment program after a safe detox process can help individuals to avoid suffering the demands of Narcan on their ability to live. While this prescription medication is very important today in the fight against heroin and other opioids, centers like ours are the best way for families of loved ones to get the care they need for their recovery. Contact one of our addiction specialists today for more information, call 513-909-2225. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7-days a week.