The Narcan Debate

The Narcan Debate

Up until now we have discussed the miracle ingredient in Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT)-Naloxone. One of the more common uses is in the form of Narcan. There has been much debate on the availability and allowance of families and loved one to be able to obtain and have on hand Narcan in a case of suspected overdose of a loved one. Similarly to someone carrying an “Epi” pen for severe allergic reactions.
On the other side of that coin there are many statesman and legislators that do not feel that an addict’s family should be allowed to legally have Narcan (Naloxone) in their possession. This is causing much upset in communities with a high rate of mortalities due to overdoses. Should Narcan only be administered by medical professionals? The argument holds that in the time an ambulance and EMT/EMS workers arrive a parent or loved one can preemptively administer Narcan themselves. Once administered they can potentially not only save a person that has overdosed but every minute that passes without treatment causes further brain and physical damage to a person that could be prevented if Narcan is or was available in the home. Many of us have had to call 911 in an emergency, how long has it taken them to arrive in your personal cases? The argument against Narcan being legally available is in one case that some believe it would give the addict less fear of overdose and allow them to continue to use without fear of death. There was also an argument raised in a meeting with the FDA by a representative from the American Society of Anesthesiologists — that argued a physician’s direction is needed when using the drug. This meeting was called to decide on whether to make Naloxone (Narcan) available without a prescription.

Though Narcan is best administered in an emergency intravenously it can be administered intramuscularly and subcutaneously. Many are in favor of making it available without a prescription due to the current trends and rise of deaths due to opioid overdose.

Let’s discus a little about how Narcan (Naloxone) is used, administered and what it accomplishes in an emergency situation currently.

Let’s say you 19 year old son who is actively using heroin overdoses. You as the parent walk into his room and find him flushed, and going into respiratory failure. You call 911 and anxiously wait as you possibly even attempt to perform CPR while on the phone with dispatchers. The ambulance arrives assesses your son and quickly they administer Narcan. They might even have to repeat it multiple times. One administered Narcan begin to reverse the effects of opioid depression. All the while they are also performing compressions and resuscitative measures. This is a common occurrence daily throughout the United States. Sometimes the ambulance is too late, in this case your son might die due to delayed treatment. With Narcan the earlier in an overdose it is administered the higher the chance for survival and the lower the chance of lingering brain damage.

What families are asking for is that extra time. That extra chance to save their children. Heroin, opioid usage and overdoses have become an epidemic of great proportions in this country. As many as nine States have made Narcan more accessible, and more states are also passing new laws to save people’s lives. Be sure to check out some of the links below to learn where your state stands on this issue.

Now, where do you stand? What are your thoughts? Should Narcan (Naloxone) be available without a prescription for these situations? Should a parent or loved one be allowed to have Narcan (Naloxone) available in their home or on their person?

“Narcan without a prescription would be available in a intranasal spray. This reduces error while allowing the loved one to easily assist and administer the life saving medication. This new dorm of administration should appease many arguments on administration and human error.”