7 things you should know about Naloxone in Nevada

7 things you should know about Naloxone in Nevada

Last week singer and actress Demi Lovato overdosed and nearly became another statistic in the ongoing opioid crisis. During a party she used too much of a substance that caused her to stop breathing. Fortunately, the individuals with Ms. Lovato at the time administered Narcan (generic naloxone) during her overdose, likely saving her life. At the time of this writing Ms. Lovato is recuperating and is expected to make a full recovery. Her overdose, however, shows that opioid addiction can happen to anyone. This nearly fatal experience also introduced many people to the opioid reversal drug naloxone that helped save her life. Ms. Lovato is fortunate to be alive as tens of thousands of individuals die each year from opioids.

According to the Center of Disease Control, this opioid overdose crisis, or epidemic, as many describe it, causes an economic burden of over 78 billion dollars every year from a combination of healthcare fees, lost productivity, criminal justice costs, and treatment. There have been public service announcements on the radio, town hall meetings, and headlines on the news detailing the harsh reality, yet there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. Naloxone, however, does offer some hope in this struggle. Here are 7 facts you should know about naloxone in Nevada.

  1. Naloxone is an opioid reversal drug or opioid antagonist

    and is the generic name for Narcan and Evzio. It can be injected or administered via nasal spray and works by attaching to the same receptors in the brain as an opioid, temporarily blocking the effects of the opioid.

  2. Its critical to call 911 and ensure the individual goes to the hospital.

    Naloxone only lasts between 30-90 minutes before its begins to wear off.  Even if the person appears healthy further medical care is crucial.

  3. Additional doses of naloxone may be necessary

    if the first is not successful after 3-5 minutes. This additional dose will not harm the individual, as one cannot overdose on naloxone. However, the individual will likely start feeling the unpleasant symptoms of opioid withdrawal such as nausea, vomit and pain.

  4. Administer Naloxone if you suspect an overdose.

    Naloxone has no side effects and will not cause additional problems if administered to a person who is not overdosing. Naloxone can be given to individuals of all ages, however there is some concern regarding naloxone and pregnancy.

  1. Naloxone only works on opiates

    such as heroin or hydrocodone. It does not work on other drugs such as meth, alcohol, or cocaine. If a person has used more than one drug naloxone will only block the opioid and the individual will remain under the influence of the other substance.

  1. Any member of the community can administer naloxone to any person in need without fear of punishment. In Nevada Senate Bill 459

    • Improved access to Naloxone
    • Passage of civil and professional liability protection for individuals who, acting in good faith and with reasonable care, can prescribe, dispense or administer naloxone.
    • Passage of 911 Good Samaritan protection to encourage individuals to seek medical help for a person experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose. Individuals who act in good faith are protected against arrest, charge, prosecution, and conviction for charges related to drug paraphernalia procession, minor drug possession, use of controlled substance, or violation of restraining orders, parole or probation. (Does not protect against other crimes.)
  1. Naloxone can be purchased without a prescription.

    It is readily available at most Walgreens, CVS, or Smiths Drug Stores. In Nevada, it can also be found at Northern Nevada HOPES, Trac-B Exchange, the Center for Behavioral Health, Life Change Center, and Vitality. The cost of Naloxone varies but it is partially covered by many insurance plans and can be is free in many locations.

As the Opioid Epidemic has expanded, naloxone has become much more socially acceptable and prevalent. There is no way to know the exact number of lives naloxone has saved but the number is significant. New Jersey announced that since 2015 16,000 individuals have been saved by naloxone in that state alone. While naloxone is very good at saving lives, some critics worry that this additional safety measure leads to further opioid use. These critics feel that limitless naloxone could take away a level of fear that would otherwise encourage people to seek treatment sooner. As of this writing, however, naloxone availability continues to expand across the United States.  As a reminder it is important to follow the directions of a doctor, pharmacist, or provider as well as the directions on the medicine when administering naloxone.

If you or your organization are interested in more information and/or training about naloxone in Nevada, please contact Morgan Green at the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) at mgreen@casat.org. Naloxone can and will continue to save lives; however, as a community we have much more work to do to solve the underlying problems of the Opioid Crisis.

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