President Theodore Roosevelt famously mentioned a West African proverb that said, “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” For people who have a loved one addicted to opiates, that proverb could be changed to, “Speak softly, and carry naloxone.”
Why Naloxone? The reason is simple… if you want to save the life of a loved one who has overdosed on opiates, naloxone is the best weapon in your arsenal. Sold commercially as Narcan, Naloxone is available in several different forms, including an inject-able liquid and a nasal spray. Naloxone reverses the effects of opiates on the body, meaning the user becomes sober almost immediately.
Some critics have said that carrying an opiate overdose reversal kit enables drug use. This myth should be dispelled as quickly as possible because studies show that widespread availability of the drug does not increase opiate abuse. On top of that, as one addiction expert says, “You can’t help addicts get recovery if they’re dead.”
The only problem with Narcan is accessibility. The drug is technically a prescription drug, but finding the right person to prescribe it to can be tricky for doctors, mainly because the person administering the drug may or may not be the person it’s been prescribed to. In the end, the person who can administer the drug must make an ethical decision whether or not to save the life of someone who is overdosing.
There are other obstacles as well. Some states have refused to pass legislation making it possible for people to get Narcan, despite the fact that it won’t get you high or get you hooked. This rigid stance by state legislatures is about as logical as saying schools shouldn’t be allowed to carry defibrillators because having them available would encourage children’s hearts to fail.
If you are interested in this product for a loved one, check out your state’s access to naloxone here and learn how to save the life of a person overdosing on opiates.