Drug overdoses are preventable, and there are options out there to inform the public on how to stop these deaths from occurring.
As International Overdose Awareness Day approaches, on August 31, pharmacists have an opportunity to raise awareness of the overdose epidemic that is occurring around the world and to reduce stigmas around this subject. Drug overdoses are preventable, and there are options out there to inform the public on how to stop these deaths from occurring.1
Naloxone (Narcan or Evzio) is a medication intended to counter the effects of an opioid overdose. It reverses the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, letting the victim breathe normally until the drug wears off in 20-90 minutes.2
Naloxone products are offered as injectables or as a prepackaged nasal spray. This medication is available at most pharmacies in certain states. In other states, a physician can prescribe naloxone to a patient.3
The availability of naloxone to the general population can assist in decreasing the amount of drug-related deaths. However, it is important to know exactly how to administer this product for proper care of the victim.
According to Dr. Mark Calarco of the American Addiction Centers (AAC), it is “time to train the public to use Narcan with the same frequency and attention we give to CPR, and it is more likely to save a life than CPR.”4
On International Overdose Awareness Day, the AAC is offering naloxone training events across the United States for free. Many of these sessions include a training led by medical professionals that will answer any questions one may have about the reversal drug. More information regarding these events can be found by checking the websites of the respective locations. 4