Naloxone | The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

Naloxone

The Surging Price of the Overdose Reversal Drug, Naloxone

As the opioid epidemic continues and the number of overdose deaths climbs, naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug also known by the brand name Narcan, has become even more important. While it’s not a treatment for opioid addiction, naloxone has the ability to bring individuals experiencing an overdose back from the brink of death. Because of its life-saving abilities, public health leaders agree it is essential that naloxone remain widely accessible to medical centers, first responders and private citizens.

What is Naloxone, and How Does it Save Lives?

Naloxone, or Narcan, is used by first responders across the country to save lives when someone overdoses on opioids like heroin or prescription pills. Naloxone is an overdose reversal drug, but it is not treatment for addiction. This fact is often misunderstood: many people confuse naloxone as a treatment for opioid addiction. Rather, naloxone is more like a defibrillator – jump starting the heart after a heart attack. When people only use naloxone after an overdose without treatment, they are very likely to continue using opioids, and are at high risk of overdosing again

Lessons From Northwell Health: How a Hospital System is Responding to the Opioid Epidemic

Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin, has nearly quadrupled. In September, for the first time, the White House designated a Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. As part of this awareness week, President Obama called for expanding access to prevention and treatment services for opioid use disorders. 

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