The opioid crisis in the United States is at an all-time high. More and more young Americans are dying as a result of overdose. Addiction does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone from any background, community or age group. It is a problem that is sweeping through communities across the country. Overdose fatalities are rising to levels that are approaching an epidemic. Many professionals believe that this problem will require decades of work to remedy. Naloxone is an overdose reversal drug that is used to save lives. The drug has been in circulation for several years, but is now gaining quick popularity as the miracle drug. It is being used by first responders and is also being made available to individuals. Family members or friends of addicts can obtain the drug in the event that they have the need to revive an overdose victim. Advocates for this drug say that it is preventing death, while enemies of this drug say that is enabling addicts.

How Naloxone Saves Lives

At one point, only a small number of professionals had access to the drug naloxone. This drug is an overdose reverse medication that can save the lives of those who overdose from opioids. Naloxone, or Narcan, is only used in emergency situations. It is delivered in the form of a nasal spray and works on the opioid receptors in the brain. It blocks and reverses the effects of opioids in the body such as: slowed breathing, extreme drowsiness and loss of consciousness. The cause of death for a person who overdoses from opioids is normally reduced breathing or complete stoppage of breathing. Opioids relax the central nervous system to a point where the individual stops breathing. The brain has many opioid receptors, when someone overdoses on heroin, OxyContin or any other opioid those receptors are overloaded by opioids. Naloxone has a stronger connection with the opioid receptors, which allows it overpower and occupy those receptors. This allows an opioid overdose patient to breathe regularly. Naloxone or Narcan reverse the effects of opioids in the body by getting the central nervous system and respiratory system to function properly. This drug is used in emergency situations only. It does not have any addictive qualities; therefore it will not have any effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system. The drug can be injected via an IV or directly into the thigh. Higher concentrations of the drug are delivered in the form of a spray in the nose. The potential for abuse is low and as of today non-existent. This drug should be administered by a professional, but is still user friendly. The drug can be administered by any lay person in the vicinity of an emergency. The effects of the drug last anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes. Professional medical care should be sought out after the administration of this drug, even if the overdose symptoms ‘seem’ to have subsided.

Enabling Addicts and Drug Fads

There are a group of individuals who do not believe this drug is helping addicts continue their drug abuse. They believe that this drug affords addicts the safety net of continuing to abuse drugs. Addicts can ‘safely’ continue to use and abuse drugs without the fear of fatality. While this may be true in some minds, it is not enough to completely discredit the positive use of this drug. Naloxone saves lives, it is that simple. Addicts and their loved ones deserve another chance. The use of this drug is still new and therefore does not have any statistical information regarding it enabling addiction. The only part of this issue that deserves any attention is the fact that it gives people another chance to take control of their lives. Narcan is useful and could very well save the life of someone you know.