Why is Narcan so important?
Narcan is one of the most important components of harm reduction. It is nearly synonymous with harm reduction in the US. Where we do not have some of the advantages that exist in other countries, such as safe injection sites, we depend very much on using Narcan to keep as many opioid users alive as possible. A Narcan podcast can help to spread the word about this important tool.
What is Narcan?
Narcan is a brand-name product that contains naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an opiate or opioid overdose. For example, if someone is dying of a heroin or fentanyl overdose on the streets, naloxone can save their lives. It is used either by nasal spray or injection. Why call naloxone by the brand name, Narcan? Because Narcan has become a well-known household brand, similar to Kleenex and Coke. We have a tendency to call all members of a product category by the most well-known brand in that category.
Should I have Narcan?
You should have Narcan. Even if you do not use opioids. In fact, even if you do not know anyone personally who uses opioids, you should still have Narcan. Why would you want to carry around an opioid overdose reversal drug? First of all, it is safe. If you do not take opioids at all, Narcan would likely have no effect on you. Yet, when Narcan is given to an opioid user who is dying from an overdose, it will reverse the overdose and help to save that person’s life. One host of a popular Narcan podcast stated that Narcan should be as common as hand-sanitizer. If you carry Narcan, you may one day save a life with it.
How can I get Narcan?
In many states, you can purchase Narcan at a pharmacy without a prescription. There is some paperwork to fill out, similarly to getting a flu shot. However, the FDA is working to change this. They are fast-tracking Narcan to become an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. This means that you will be able to buy Narcan or a generic naloxone equivalent, without even talking to a pharmacist. You will be able to find it on the grocery store shelves, near the Advil, Motrin, and other OTC products. That same Narcan podcast host mentioned earlier also stated that not only should Narcan be carried by everyone, it should be available in as many stores as possible. He even suggested that a store such as Bath And Bodyworks could sell naloxone nasal sprays with trendy carrying cases.
Are there alternatives to Narcan?
Yes, there are other brands available. One very interesting device is Evzio. Evzio is a talking auto-injector. The user simply presses the device against the skin of the person who is overdosing. Evzio has a computer and speaker inside. It talks the user through how to use it. It automatically injects the opioid user with a preset dose of naloxone. A video Narcan podcast host recently demonstrated the Evzio device to his audience. This was helpful in that it helped to put viewers at ease that this small device can be carried anywhere and it is very simple to use.
The future of Narcan.
There is no doubt that more people will carry Narcan in the future. Furthermore, we will soon see it in buildings as part of first aid kits and on the walls where fire extinguishers and automated defibrillators hang. Narcan has become an important tool in our modern world in light of the ongoing opioid crisis.