Sunteți pe pagina 1din 6

Swasey 1

Krystalle Swasey

Gustavo Ibarra

Life, Society, and Drugs 1050

9 April 2017

Naloxone

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of an opioid

overdose. It does this by binding to the opioid receptors and stopping the

effects of the opioid. The person who is overdosing has either had their heart

slowed down to unsafe levels or either stopped completely along with their

breathing. The people it is used on are usually overdosing on either

prescription opioid medication or illegal substances like heroin. Naloxone can

be delivered to the user several different ways including injectable, auto

injectable, or a nasal spray. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Naloxone is a new life saving drug that has saved many peoples life

from overdoses. It can be delivered in a couple different ways. Injectable

route, which requires professional training because the lifesaving drug comes

in vials. This requires you to put it into a syringe to administer by an

intranasal route, but this method is not the first choice by first responders

because of the amount of time it takes to get it ready. It can also be

delivered using an auto injectable like Evzio, which is a prefilled device that

talks the first responders how to administer the medication step by step. The
Swasey 2

person receiving Naloxone will be injected with Evzio into the outer thigh

with the exact amount needed to reverse the effects. The last way to deliver

Naloxone is by using a prepackaged nasal spray called Narcan, which is

prefilled and sprayed into the users nasal cavity while they are laying on

their back. Both Evzio and Narcan come with 2 doses just in case the first

dose of Naloxone is not enough to completely reverse the effects. These

products are safe to use at home or by first responders like paramedics or

the police and even family members.

The opioid epidemic is continually growing at alarming rates. Data

from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that deaths from opioid

drug overdoses in the US has more than tripled from 2001 to 2013, from just

under 6,000 deaths to between 16,000-18,000 deaths a year. According to

data gathered by the World Health Organization in 2014, opioid overdose

causes an estimated 69,000 deaths a year and an estimated 15 million

suffer from an opioid addiction or dependency. (Preusz)

Drugs that can be reversed by naloxone when there is an overdose

include Heroin, Morphine, Oxycodone, Methadone, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone,

Codeine, Hydromorphone, Buprenorphine, Pethidine, and

Dextropropoxyphene. (Preusz) These types of drugs have the potential to

cause an overdose if taken in excess amounts because they are all opioid

derivatives.
Swasey 3

Good candidates for naloxone are people who take high doses of opioid

medication for long term chronic pain, receive rotating opioid medication

regimens, those who have been discharged for opioid poisoning, those taking

extended release forms of opioid medications, and those completing

mandatory opioid detox programs. Naloxone can also be administered to

children and pregnant women if administered under medical supervision.

It is now legal to buy Naloxone over the counter in 14 states including

Utah. These states include Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota,

Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,

South Carolina, and Tennessee. This product is said to have cost about $40-

50 if bought without a prescription in the nasal applicator device. By making

Naloxone over the counter in some states, the hope is that it will be more

readily available to people who may have the potential to overdose on opioid

medications. (Preusz)

It is necessary to have a medication like Naloxone readily available to

the public because of the increase deaths from opioids throughout the US.

This is a great tool for many first responders to have because they are often

the first ones, other than family members, to find a person who as

overdosed. Before Naloxone there was not a way to reverse the effects of an

opioid overdose, but now people are getting a second chance at life.

Even though this new drug is saving lives, there is some controversy

about whether it is safe and the potential for users to mindlessly overdose on
Swasey 4

illegal or prescription opioid medications because there is something out

there that can save their lives now, unlike before. I understand peoples view

of whether this new drug will just cause addicts to use more drugs because

they no longer need to be afraid of the consequences, but I do not think this

is necessarily true because Naloxone has been proven to be safe and

effective with no potential for abuse. I think this drug is a necessity to have

on our streets because the number of overdoses from opioids is going up at

an alarming rate. Heroin overdose contributes to roughly 2,000 deaths per

year, and overdose deaths from prescription opiate analgesics have risen

rapidly to more than 10,000 yearly (Bazazi). The other part of this

controversial issue of people using more and more drugs mindlessly because

they know there is a drug that can save their life. I do not think this is a true

statement because the people who are already using these types of drugs

are going to continue doing so no matter what new drug comes out or no

matter what anyone says. Naloxone is out there for one thing only and that is

to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in which someone has

purposely or accidently overdosed. It has already been shown to save many

peoples life who otherwise wouldnt be here today and I think that is an

amazing advancement for the medical field.

The place we need to start is by treating substance abuse so that

Naloxone does not have to be used because ultimately prevention is the best

medication overall. Some of the actions that can be done now are things like
Swasey 5

interventions, to show the user how harmful these drugs are to the body and

let them know that if they want to quit, they have your support and

guidance. Syringe exchange programs can also be an important tool to help

with the HIV problem that comes with abusing injectable drugs like heroin.

Also, opioid substitution therapy to get people off addicting opioid

medications and on to something less addictive to help prevent the addiction

in the first place. Another thing that can be done is providing the user and

the family, or those around the user, about how to use Naloxone in case of

an overdose, but ultimately hoping to never use it.

Overall I think Naloxone is a good and safe drug that is important to

have on the market because it is saving peoples lives. I do not think having

Naloxone available is giving the wrong message to users because there are

ultimately going to do whatever they want, but having this drug just in case

of an emergency is an important aspect. I do believe we should be treating

drug related issues like addiction before they get this far, but I understand

the issues with addiction are hard to fix cannot be done overnight. I hope for

many people out there that they do not have to use this medication, but I am

glad that it is available for the people who find themselves in a horrible

situation of an overdose.

Work Cited

Bazazi, Alexander R., et al. Preventing Opiate Overdose Deaths: Examining

Objections to Take-Home Naloxone. Journal of Health Care for the


Swasey 6

Poor and Underserved, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2010,

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008773/. Accessed 8

Mar.2017.

Https://www.facebook.com/NIDANIH. Naloxone. National Institute on Drug

Abuse (NIDA), 26

Sept.2016,www.drugabuse.gov/relatedtopics/naloxone.

Preusz, Jared. Opioid Antidote, Naloxone, Now Available Without

Prescription. The Addiction Advisor, 2014,

www.theaddictionadvisor.com/naloxone- opioidantidote-available-without-

prescription. Accessed 9 Apr. 2017.

Naloxone. Naloxone, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

Administration, 3 Mar. 2016, www.samhsa.gov/medication-

assisted- treatment/treatment/naloxone.

Naloxone Injection. MedlinePlus Drug Information, American Society of

Health- System Pharmacists, 15 Feb. 2016,

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a612022.html.