If the word Narcan sounds familiar, it’s been in the news lately for saving pop star Demi Lovato’s life after an overdose. It’s a sort of antidote to opioid overdose. Like an epipen, it can be used to quickly administer medicine to an overdosing person. “Narcan isn’t a solution to addiction by any means,” said an anonymous source after Lovato’s overdose, “but it is a solution to death.”
Surgeon General’s Recommendation
Safe usage and access to Naloxone has been recommended by Surgeon General Jerome Adams who released a statement reading in part:
I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. For patients currently taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain, individuals misusing prescription opioids, individuals using illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose, knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life. BE PREPARED. GET NALOXONE. SAVE A LIFE.
Available in CVS and Walgreens
Also known by the name naloxone, Narcan is beginning to see more availability. After 2016 legislation, pharmacies have begun to make the drug available. It costs about $45 for an autoinjector version and about $90 for the internasal spray. There may be some training necessary for the injector and there is some debate about the effectiveness of the spray, so please have a discussion about what is best for your needs. Also, prices can vary wildly. Generic versions are cheaper and if you have insurance you might have a copay of as little as $0. Additionally, many activist groups are finding ways to subsidize the cost, so you might be able to find cheap or free alternatives if you can’t afford it.
If you have a friend or family member who abuses opioids, consider getting naloxone for a rainy day that hopefully will never come. The argument that an antidote to overdose encourages addiction falls flat because a dead person cannot recover. We are grateful that this medicine was available to Demi Lovato when she needed it and hope that she can receive the help she deserves and needs. To learn more about this and opiate rehab in Florida, please call (855) 441-2449.