The lifesaving drug Narcan can now be purchased over the counter.
Narcan is a nasal spray drug that can reverse an overdose caused by opiates. This drug can now be purchased over the counter at any Walgreens in Colorado without a prescription. This can potentially save the lives of many.
Narcan has been used by medics and doctors, but now it can be used by anyone. Similar to the use of an epinephrine pen to stop an initial reaction to an allergy, Narcan can be used in an emergency situation until medical personnel can take over. According to the Colorado Health Department, overdose deaths from just one kind of opioid painkiller outnumbered all homicides in Colorado in 2015.
329 people died in Colorado alone in 2015 from an overdose of just a prescription opioid such as fentanyl or methadone. If you add the number of people who died from heroine overdoses that would bring the number to 472. Data from 2016 are not yet available, however these results are enough to take action.
The overdoses have been on the rise recently and its definitely to the point that it is a public health concern,” Lt. Steve Hulac said, a paramedic with Denver Health.
Narcan's availability over the counter does not mean you can inject someone who is overdosing and then leave them alone, says Hulac. Use it as a time-extender until first responders can get to the scene. Also, Hulac states, “It’s important that you call 911 right away because if you give the Narcan, it sometimes doesn't last as long as the drug that was affecting the person to begin with."
If you are considering purchasing the drug, it is important to understand the instructions and side effects of Narcan. If you are unsure, please speak with a pharmacist or review the instructions.