OTC Narcan Spray Available in North Carolina
Naloxone is available as a nasal spray in some North Carolina pharmacies over the counter. The drug can reverse overdoses and save lives. Many don't know it's available and accessible for about $45. However, it's an essential tool for the public good and health.
How Does Narcan Work?
Narcan is a brand name for a medication called naloxone, a drug used to reverse overdoses involving opioids like fentanyl or Oxycontin. Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Opioids are a class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone and illicit drugs like heroin. When someone overdoses on opioids, their breathing can slow or stop, which can be fatal. Narcan works by displacing opioids from the receptors in the brain, temporarily reversing the overdose effects and restoring normal breathing.
How Can OTC Narcan Benefit Public Health in North Carolina?
Making Narcan nasal spray (naloxone) available over the counter can benefit the public. In 2021, overdose deaths in North Carolina increased by 22%, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The state continues to tackle the fentanyl epidemic by pushing mobile crisis care, treatment programs, Medication-Assisted Treatment, and mental health interventions to help people get the care they need.
Over the Counter Narcan can also help with the following:
- Increased Access: Over-the-counter availability means that more people can get their hands on naloxone without a prescription. This makes it more accessible to people at risk of opioid overdose, their friends, family members, or bystanders who may encounter someone experiencing an overdose. This increases the likelihood that naloxone will be administered promptly in emergencies, helping drug users stay alive.
- More Timely Response: Naloxone is most effective when administered quickly after an opioid overdose occurs. Over-the-counter access allows for a faster response in critical situations, potentially saving lives.
- Reduced Stigma: Over-the-counter availability can help reduce the stigma associated with addiction and opioid overdose. It sends a message that naloxone is a vital tool for harm reduction. and Anyone can play a role in preventing overdose deaths.
- Empowerment: It empowers individuals and communities to take a proactive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic. Harm reduction can be a vital tool for helping a person reach recovery. Having naloxone readily available allows individuals to be prepared and take action when needed.
Helping a person feel like their life is worth saving. Narcan is a powerful tool to wield, paving the way for tools like Medication-Assisted Treatment and carving a path to recovery.
Wider Public Health Benefits
More availability of naloxone can contribute to reducing opioid overdose deaths and improving public health outcomes. It is part of a comprehensive approach to combat the opioid crisis. Having it available at colleges, clubs, community centers, and other publicly shared spaces can dramatically impact people.
Over 4,000 people died of an overdose in the state in 2021, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Narcan spray could have reversed some of those overdose deaths if it were more widely available.
Fentanyl deaths have increased in the past few years as it is increasingly found as an adulterant in other drugs such as street-sourced counterfeit Oxy pills or stimulants like cocaine. Many people who overdose on fentanyl do it by accident, not realizing the drugs they have taken are adulterated with the deadly opioid 50-100 times stronger than morphine.
Reducing Death and Addiction Is the Ultimate Goal
Over-the-counter access to naloxone is a positive step, but it's just a sliver of the puzzle regarding reducing the harm caused by opioid addiction. Interventions and readily accessible treatment, prevention, and education programs are essential to fighting the opioid epidemic. Making naloxone more accessible is just one element in the effort to save lives and reduce the harms associated with opioid use.
In 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved over-the-counter naloxone to reduce overdose deaths. While not all pharmacies stock it, many in North Carolina have the Naloxone nasal spray. It's easy to use and effective at reducing opioid deaths.
However, It cannot entirely reverse some overdoses involving opioids and sedatives like Xylazine or benzodiazepines. Drugs that involve multiple substances often require a dual approach of both Naloxone and CPR to help keep people breathing and help them reach the hospital.
Getting Help for Opioid Use Disorder
If you or somebody you love is struggling with addiction, we're here to help. Medication-assisted treatment is a science-backed approach to reclaiming your life. Learn more about how we can help you achieve long-term sobriety by giving us a call.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.