Opiate Overdose is a hot topic these days. The statistics are grim. Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2012 among people 25 to 64 years old. Overdoses are causing more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes. More people are being prescribed opioids for pain, in fact there has been a fourfold increase in prescription opioid use since 1999. Opioids include both legal and illegal drugs such as heroin, morphine, percacet, fentonyl, roxicodone, oxicodone, oxymorphone, etc.
Access to Naloxone (a drug with no psychoactive effects and no potential for abuse) is one of the most effective tools for reducing/ eliminating accidental opioid overdose. We know that when you flood a community with naloxone you can reduce overdose deaths by 50%.
There are 3 types of Naloxone people or groups can choose from. The only difference….well delivery method and cost!
Injectable naloxone is the cheapest. You can train someone to use this kind of naloxone in a very short period of time and it is cost effective. Many groups do not like to distribute it because a syringe is part of the kit and syringes make many people feel uncomfortable. It typically is supplied as a kit with two syringes, at a cost of about $6 per dose and $15 per kit. The picture below is injectable naloxone.
So for those who are feeling afraid of syringes there is nasal naloxone. Many health departments use this kind but it does cost more. CVS and Walgreens sell the two-dose nasal naloxone kits for $39.89 and $50.99. They are a bit more complicated to put together and do require some training. A person in an emergency situation might not be able to figure out how to use it without training.
Last but not least there is talking Naloxone, Envizio is easy to use …it talks to you. There are written instructions and a talking auto-injector. The cost of these handy dandy devices upward of $500.
There are some people who are against naloxone because they think that people who are using drugs will just be more irresponsible because Naloxone provides a safety net. This sounds like a reasonable argument but if you understand how naloxone works you know this is not realistic. Naloxone knocks the opioids off the receptors and then blocks the receptors in the brain. Once this happens the person who received the naloxone will immediately go into withdraw. People do not want to be injected with naloxone …it would only be a last resort!
If your community does not have a naloxone program you should contact us and learn how to advocate for naloxone access…… Yea three cheers for NALOXONE!!!!