(*Edit: This article was published in December 2016 and is receiving a lot of traffic from people that may be seeking to buy some of the substances mentioned below. We are NOT an online pharmacy. We provide substance abuse and addiction treatment and counseling services to inpatient and transitional rehab clients, based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.)(*Edit 12/6/17: Also, please see our recent blog post which has updated information about the efficacy and risks associated with Naloxone.)
Last week, it was announced that in 2015 more people died from heroin overdoses than from firearm-related incidents. In 2015 13,150 people died from heroin overdoses, and in total 33,251 died in opioid-related deaths, further showing what many have already known that there is an opioid epidemic in this country. These numbers represent an 11% increase from 2014 and when the numbers for 2016 are finally calculated it is thought that they will continue this upward trend.
While politicians and other public figures attempt to figure out what can be done on a national level in order to help curb this growing problem, many States have taken it upon themselves to find a temporary solution. What they have come up with is to offer the drug Naloxone, which is used in order to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose, over the counter.
Naloxone was first synthesized in 1961 and was first approved by the FDA for usage in 1971. The drug is an opioid antagonist, which means it competes with opioids already present in the body by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. What this does is prevent the opioid receptors from binding with any further opiates present so that a person who ingested too much of the substance will not experience overdose from toxicity. The drug not only keeps the body from binding any further opioids but it also completely counteracts the effect of an opioid overdose.
What this looks like for a person who is experiencing an opioid overdose is, if they are unconscious, they will almost instantly be revived and become conscious. Any distress they were experiencing because of the overabundance of opioids present in their body will stop immediately and while they may be physically sick, they will not die due to the harmful levels of opioids present.
While the drug was initially only offered through intravenous injection, it has since been made available in a nasal spray application. This has made administering the drug incredibly easy and because of this, legislators are looking into giving non-medically trained people the ability to dispense the drug. In the past, the only people that could give a person the drug were doctors or other medical professionals, but with the growing amount of overdoses in this country and the ease with which the drug can be given, this is beginning to change, and because of it many more lives will be saved.
As of writing this, Naloxone is not readily available in every state, but there are a number of states where the drug can be purchased over the counter at a local CVS or Walgreens. Although it is important to note that without the proper training, a person is not legally allowed to administer the drug even if they can purchase it. Administering the drug without the proper credentials could leave you open to libel lawsuits or other fines from local or state governments.
The States that you can buy Narcan, which is another name of Naloxone, at a local CVS are:
ArkansasCaliforniaMinnesotaMississippiMontanaNew JerseyNorth DakotaPennsylvaniaSouth CarolinaTennesseeUtahWisconsin
While CVS was the first to start offering Narcan over the counter, Walgreens soon followed suit and this past year, they announced that they would be offering the drug for purchase over the counter in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
The states that sell Narcan over the counter at Walgreens are:
Alabama . Arkansas . California . Colorado . Connecticut . District of Columbia . Florida Georgia Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska . Nevada New Jersey New Mexico New York Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington Wisconsin
There has also been talk this past year about having Narcan available at High Schools throughout the country. This may come as a surprise to some, but the use of opioids in American High Schools is well documented, and while overdoses in the public school system are not particularly commonplace, having the drug available shows a preemptive planning that is a welcome change from the discourse we’ve had on drug abuse in the past. For many years, and even in some states to this day, people who suffer from addiction have been unable to get access to things such as clean needles, so the fact that we are now allowing for freer access to this life-saving drug is a giant step in the right direction.
With 2016 almost at end, it is hard to say where next year will take us in regards to fighting the opioid epidemic in this country, but what can be said is that this past year has helped to change the public perception on drug addiction and the political stance on how addicts should be treated. We are moving away from the punishing agendas we held dear for so many years and because of this, it appears that we are shifting towards an attitude of tolerance and education. This is hopeful and what needs to be done in order to help stop the rising number of people dying from opioid overdoses each year.
Getting Help For Opioid Addiction
While it is a great thing that Narcan is becoming readily available now, depending on the drug in order to avoid an overdose is a risky endeavor. So if you think that you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol then call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center at 1-866-771-7091. Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and we know just what you need in order to finally put your addiction behind you and move into a new and happy sober life. We understand that asking for help can be difficult and we are here to help your individual needs. So don’t delay, call us today.