Most households have a first-aid kit of some kind; maybe it’s a specific drawer where Band-Aids and Neosporin are stored, or a cabinet stocked with aspirin and cotton balls. No matter where emergency supplies are kept, one item needs to be added to everyone’s first-aid kit: Narcan naloxone nasal spray.
Earlier this year, the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) approved Narcan naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray for over-the-counter nonprescription use, giving everyone access to a literal lifesaver.
Naloxone is a medication that “rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose and is the standard treatment for opioid overdose,” according to the FDA website.
“Drug overdose persists as a major public health issue in the United States, with more than 101,750 reported fatal overdoses occurring in the 12-month period ending in October 2022, primarily driven by synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl,” the website continues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Narcan can restore normal breathing within two to three minutes in a person whose breath has slowed, or even stopped, as a result of opioid overdose. It can be administered to people of all ages and does not have harmful side effects.
“Don’t hesitate to administer naloxone in an emergency even if you’re not sure if the person is experiencing an opioid overdose,” said Marta Sokolowska, Ph.D., deputy center director for substance use and behavioral health at the FDA. “Giving someone naloxone who does not have opioids in their system shouldn’t hurt them, but it could help them and save their life.”
With the opioid crisis and the number of fentanyl poisonings continuing to skyrocket, now is the time that every person should familiarize themselves with how to properly administer Narcan.
The Georgia Harm Reduction Coalition, which operates a clinic in DeKalb County at 5462 Memorial Drive Suite 101 in Stone Mountain, is a great resource to obtain free Narcan and fentanyl test strips, as well as helpful information in the fight against this drug epidemic.
The real danger of the opioid crisis is believing family members, friends, co-workers and loved ones are not at risk of an overdose. In Georgia, from 2019 to 2021, drug overdose deaths increased by 61 percent, and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths increased by 230 percent, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Let’s all do our part to reduce the devastation that the opioid crisis has inflicted on our communities; check out https://georgiaharmreduction.org/ to get Narcan for free and learn how to administer it.