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Narcan 2018-11-08T17:50:20+00:00

Is Narcan Available Over-The-Counter In The United States?

Narcan, which is the brand name for naloxone, is well known for its role in helping people with a drug overdose. Specifically, Narcan is effective for opioid overdose, so it could be used to counteract an overdose from oxycodone, morphine, heroin and other drugs in the opioid drug class.

This drug helps save many people from dangerous symptoms and dying by overdose, acting as one of the solutions to the modern opioid epidemic that encompasses both opioid painkillers and heroin.

Narcan has a benefit to society, yet it’s important to understand its risks. This drug is a short-term option that doesn’t solve an addiction. Unfortunately, some people see Narcan as a way to maintain an addiction to opioids without worrying about overdose. Is this the case for you or a loved one? If so, addiction can lead to many consequences that take over your life in an unhealthy way. Treatment can help you find a healthier way forward.

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How Does Narcan Work?

Narcan works to counteract effects of an opioid overdose. In particular, it manages some of the most dangerous effects, including depression of the respiratory and central nervous systems. Another legitimate use of Narcan is to act against an opioid depression after surgery.

This life-saving drug is administered by injection or nasal spray and can help prevent your breathing from slowing too much or even stopping. It is given by emergency medical workers and can also be obtained through public programs, by prescription and over-the-counter to administer to yourself or someone else. It is not a controlled substance and is now available without a prescription in certain places.

Risks of Narcan

Although Narcan is generally safe and beneficial, it can come with risks. One risk is that if you take high doses of Narcan or are dependent on opioids, it’s possible for you to go through an opioid withdrawal in response to using Narcan. You could experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness and vomiting. Using small doses in increments of a few minutes might help.

If you do not receive medical treatment after administering Narcan, you can still face the effects of the opioids after the Narcan wears off. You might need to use more than one dose to counteract the ongoing effects of the opioid. After using Narcan for an overdose, it’s important to visit the emergency department to get correct treatment to safely, fully recover from the overdose.

Another danger is that after experiencing the way Narcan counteracts an overdose’s effects, some people want to take more opioids or other drugs. However, the opioids that created the overdose last much longer in your system than Narcan. The drug only counteracts opioids’ effects for up to an hour. Even though it may feel like you no longer have high levels of drugs in your body after taking Narcan, you still do. If you take additional drugs, you could experience another overdose.

Also, some people see Narcan as a solution to opioid abuse. Although Narcan can help reverse the effects of opioid overdose, it doesn’t make it safe to abuse opioids. It’s not reliable or a strong, long-term plan to rely on Narcan to prevent overdose effects, which can be fatal.

People also try to use Narcan to treat an addiction, but it is not helpful for this purpose. It also does not work on overdose for drugs other than opioids. You should not rely on Narcan for anything other than its specific use.

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Treatment for Addiction

If you have an addiction, Narcan will not provide a solution that helps you overcome it. Instead, there are other options, such as different types of medication, detox and rehab, that can help you get past withdrawal and teach you how to live without using substances.

At Transformations Treatment Center, our certified addiction professionals can provide an assessment to understand the full scope of your addiction and your needs going forward. We can determine the extent of your substance use disorder and whether you have any co-occurring substance use or mental health disorders that need treatment, so that nothing is holding you back from your recovery.

Depending on your unique needs, we will create an individualized treatment plan for you. This can include detox through our facility Summit Detox, a customized rehab program and an aftercare program. Our rehab treatment comes in a range of programs, levels and tracks, so we’re sure to find a path forward just for you.

Relying on Narcan in case of an overdose is not a long-term solution. While this drug is good to have on hand to potentially save your life, it won’t help you overcome the many problems addiction can cause.

But you can create a new life for yourself that isn’t centered on substance use. Treatment can provide guidance and tools that enable you to walk the path of recovery. Allow the certified addiction professionals at Transformations Treatment Center to create an individualized treatment plan to fit your unique needs. Contact us today to get started.

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Continue Reading: How Narcan Works Within Your Body
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