How Naloxone Saves Lives

How Naloxone Saves Lives

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. When a person experiences an opioid overdose, her central nervous system becomes life threateningly depressed and the respiratory system begins to fail, making her unable to breathe. According to the Harm Reduction Coalition, Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, works by temporarily knocking off and replacing opioid drugs from where they attach to the neuron receptors in the brain. Once naloxone is injected the person experiencing an opioid overdose is able to breathe again.

The Harm Reduction Coalition further explains that naloxone is an unscheduled prescription medication rather than a controlled substance. Naloxone is not addictive, as it has no effect unless a person has opioids in their system. Opioid receptors in the brain have a greater affinity to naloxone then opioid drugs, which allows naloxone to replace opioids. Naloxone has typically been carried by hospitals and paramedics for quite some time in order to treat an opioid overdose. Police officers in many states such as New York are also starting to carry the prescription medication in order to respond to cases of potential opioid overdose.

The drug is typically administered intravenously as it provides the fastest method of action within a one-minute window. The effects of naloxone when injected typically last for up to 45 minutes. In many cases where proper clinical environment is not available, the drug can be administered through the nasal passage in spray form. If the person experiencing an opioid overdose does not respond to naloxone within two to three minutes, the doses may be repeated every two minutes until the maximum amount of 10mg is reached. Naloxone is a temporary drug and the effects may wear off before the opioids do, which makes it crucial for the patient to be closely monitored in case another dose of naloxone is needed at a later time.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an automatic, pocket-sized naloxone injector has been approved that can be administered by family members or caregivers in the event of an emergency opioid overdose. The auto-injector is called Evzio and it delivers a rapid dose of naloxone that can be easily administered. The FDA pushed to fast track the development of Evzio stating that prescription drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury and death in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle crashes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of drug overdose deaths have steadily increased annually for the last decade. Formerly, naloxone could only be administered by trained professionals. Evzio provides others with the ability to save a person from overdosing on opioids. Once started, Evzio provides verbal instruction to the person administering the medication.

The CDC estimates that providing drug users and caregivers with take home doses of naloxone and training on the subject through multiple U.S. programs have prevented 10,000 opioid overdose deaths.

Professional Treatment for Opioid Addiction and Abuse

Naloxone can save lives by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose, but it is not a long-term solution to ongoing opioid abuse and addiction. People struggling with opioid abuse and addiction can benefit from professional treatment in a residential rehab setting. Rehab can help opioid addicts receive the time and attention needed to overcome abusive habits and an addictive lifestyle. Rehab provides addicts with a team a team of trained medical professionals as well as behavioral therapists who can help them begin their road to recovery. Residential rehab provides a safe, drug-free environment that allows opioid addicts to receive the care they need without the possibility of receiving more drugs. Rehab utilizes several different treatment methods that can benefit opioid addicts, including the following:

  • Art therapy
  • Behavior modification
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • One-on-one therapy
  • Wilderness programs

There are many different methods for treating drug addiction and no one method works best for everyone. The best treatment method often depends on the individual person and the factors and circumstances surrounding his particular addiction. Opioid abuse or addiction is difficult to overcome without professional help and the risk of serious injury or death greatly increases without treatment.

Need Help Finding Professional Treatment for Opioid Abuse or Addiction?

People can and do recover from drug addiction every day through the help of professional treatment programs. Opioid addiction is a medically recognized, yet treatable brain disease. Overcoming an addiction to opioids is possible with professional help.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid abuse or addiction, please call our toll-free number now for help. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day in order to help you find a professional treatment program that will work for you. Don’t let opioid addiction ruin your life any longer. Call us today.