Is it an injection? Do you have to be trained to use it?
Have you looked at Vivitrol?
Wow, finally a topic I’m very well informed on! LOL unfortunately the answer really is – “it depends.” It depends on what state you live in, the laws of that state, etc. Thankfully more and more states have created or are in the process of creating public Narcan laws – much in the same nature as the defibrillators that used to only be found in the hospital, then later on ambulance vehicles, police cars and now in public and private buildings everywhere and often for use by anyone. Narcan is not nearly at the level of public access AEDs but as more people see the overdose situation from heroin and other opiates as the epidemic it is, laws are being changed. Vivitrol while a very similar medication is used for a very different purpose – prevention of opiate use while Narcan treats an overdose.
I can’t tell you how to get narcan in your state but can tell you it is easy to administer through many routes including a simple injection, nasal spray or even rectally. Many larger cities have had programs for years. More are getting them. You need to investigate in your area or state. Or if you feel comfortable, tell us where you live and I’m sure someone will have the answer specific to you.
Also, while Narcan is the easiest way to treat an opiate overdose, it’s not the only way. Rescue breathing is also very effective. If J should have an overdose before you get Narcan, lay him flat, pinch his nose with two fingers keep his head/neck in a slightly tilted back position – as if sniffing the air – seal your mouth over his and blow in air every 5 seconds. This too will work very well.
I didn’t even know the rescue breathing could be as effective. I had Narcan before our local police did! In fact, after I used it on my son the town police starting carrying it (I am friendly with one of our officers and he said they even talked about my son at a regional conference and the need for this).
I don’t believe in Vivitrol but that’s just me. It’s supposed to be a deterrent like Suboxone except its a monthly injection so you cannot sell it or skip doses. The problem is towards the end of the month it wears off and if you use opiates you can get the effects (or try to use too much to combat the Vivitrol which in turn can lead to overdose).
I was a proponent of Suboxone at one time but it seems every narcotic bust or overdose or death has Suboxone on premises. This cannot be a good advertisement for Suboxone!!!!???
Look at your state department of health website. This is how I found out about getting narcan after my son overdosed in 2013. It comes as a shot or nasal spray. Catholic Charities in upstate New York actually does Narcan training and they came to our Nar-Anon group and trained over 40 people and have come back for newcomers.
I read Jeff’s comment about rescue breathing, it will NOT treat the overdose. Yes, you have to do rescue breathing which they will train you on but only the Narcan will knock the opiates off the receptors in the individuals brain and take them out of the overdose. Of course, before doing anything call 911 and then you would proceed to take the steps you will learn at the Narcan training.
I have to repeat this for others who read here:
RESCUE BREATHING IS NOT EFFECTIVE IN TREATING THE OVERDOSE, IT IS ONLY A PART OF THE TREATMENT
I’m not sure if we are arguing semantics here or what but I have been a paramedic for just over 25 years and have treated more opiate overdoses than you’ll ever even think about – literally dozens upon dozens, perhaps more than 100 – nearly every single one in the last dozen years. If you are trying to state that assisting ventilation swill not block the narcotic and “reverse” the overdose, you are most certainly correct. The point and the goal here is to prevent brain damage and save the persons life who has overdosed. Assisting ventilations with rescue berating will most certainly do that and to state otherwise is as wrong as wrong can be. Your statement that “rescue breathing is not effective in treating the overdose” is just totally false, wrong and worse yet dangerous anyone who choses to believe you. Please, anyone reading this, Erin is as wrong as she an be and breathing into the mouth and lungs of someone suffering overdose is the only other way to save their life! Narcan most certainly is preferred as it will restore spontaneous respirations and make the person breathe on their own. Rescue breathing will not do this. You will need to continue to breathe for the patient until the overdose wears off. Even Narcan will often wear off before the overdose does. There are reports of overdose patients revived with Narcan regaining consciousness, running off and hiding only to die later when the Narcan wears off and the overdose returns. Rescue breathing will not make the person berate on their own but will prevent brain damage and death until definitive treatment can be provided. By all means call 911. I figured that was obvious.
Clearly Narcan is much easier, especially for non medical people, to mange an overdose, but rescue breathing, if done properly, will save that persons brain and life as well. If you don’t have access to Narcan, rescue breathing is all you have. I have medical science and fact to back up my statements. Erin is making a very dangerous and potentially deadly guess in her incorrect statement. Please try rescue breathing if you don’t have Narcan. It most certainly will work.
Correction – my son actually overdosed in 2012, not 2013.
First let me say that I can certainly see the wisdom in parents “like us” having Narcan in our homes and knowing how to use it…..but then the thought that “Shit. This is what my life has come to…” comes barreling into my head.
My son’s PO called me after my second save report ended up on his désk. He was concerned about me and all I had been going through. He said ‘there is something wrong when a parent feels the need to keep Narcan in their home. No parent should need to do that’. Yup! I hear ya!
Amen Lisa! If we were in that place, and this is just me personally, I couldn’t live with her. Thank God that for today I don’t have to even think about this or figure it out. Tomorrow could be different…..
I have to disagree with the comment the parole officer made. If anyone has an addict living in their home, even while in recovery, they should still have Narcan in their home. Overdoses are more common after a period of abstaining.
Also, Annette, I do read you blog from time to time and I love it, but I thought that you said your daughter was in active addition in your home until she went into treatment a few months ago.
Overdose can happen to anyone, it doesn’t mean the addict who overdoes is in worse condition than the addict who uses once a month.
Another thing to consider is that the user never knows what they are getting they can use their “normal” amount of heroin and it can be much stronger than they thought it would be and then overdose.
Sidda since you asked….my daughter has been in and out of treatment the past 18 months, trying desperately to get clean and stay clean. That is why she was in our home. There are no fast and easy fixes (no pun intended) to heroin addiction. There are however, many attempts at sobriety accompanied by many slips. She was trying, she had been living in deplorable and unsafe conditions and for her to have any chance at all, we felt we had to offer her a safe place to stay. There are a lot of factors that I won’t go into here that led us to believe we were making the best decision based on our particular circumstances. This came after YEARS of not being allowed in our home due to her active addiction. I would never venture to tell another parent if they should or shouldn’t live with their addict. If my daughter goes out again….I don’t know what our decision will be. We will have to wait and see how life plays itself out. There are just no hard and fast rules to this journey. I have wished many many times through the years that there were…..a guide book. If your addict is using, do this. If they gain a few sober days, do this. If they are detoxing in your home, do this. But no such thing exists because we are all so very different.
Hi Annette, I hope you didn’t think that I was judging you for having your daughter live with you I wasn’t at all and if it came out sounding that way I truly apologize. I was just trying to make a point that in my opinion, I think it is a good idea to have Narcan in the home if you have an active or recovering addict living with you. I am with you that there is no cookie cutter way to treat addiction, every situation is different. Honestly my post was just about Narcan, there have been a multitude of overdose deaths in my area so I try to spread the word.
I guess I felt like you were taking issue that I said I wouldn’t live with her if she were back in active addiction, and you were saying, “But you just did, didn’t you?” The unending dilemma of whether to allow them to live with us or not can become such a nasty argument and I have felt judged (not by you) other times in other conversations, that I am overly sensitive, maybe just a little? lol So I am sorry for my edgy response.
With Narcan in mind…yes, I would have it in my house and be trained to use it….although it is incredibly sad to me that I would need to. However, having a fire extinguisher in my house can be viewed the same way…..who wants a house fire and to lose everything, but that fire extinguisher can stop the damage before there’s nothing left. Same with Narcan….where there is breath there is still hope. Once that is gone, its over.
I am super sensitive as well. Sorry about the confusion I didn’t mean that she was living with you now as I read she was in treatment I meant the time period before that . I didn’t think that you ever said you wouldn’t take her back if she were active and trust me i do not judge what any person/parent decides what is best for their situation.
Take care Annette I love your blog and I was so happy reading aboutnyourbdaughter’s pr progress.
Sorry about then last line I am writing on an ipad and something popped up and I could not see the words I was typing as it blocked them lol.
Interesting article: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/10/health/heroin-epidemic-naloxone/index.html
You can get Narcan from local needle exchanges for free and they can train you. It’s very simple to use and always, always, always good to have. You may even be able to get it from your primary care physician if you feel comfortable telling them the situation. Exchange might be confidential for the Narcan, but when I got it a few years back I had to give them limited information. Good luck.
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