Narcan Statistics and Facts

The opioid epidemic in the U.S., for the most part, started in the 1990s with the widespread prescribing of prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone. The opioid epidemic, which is described as a public health crisis, includes not only prescription pain killers but also heroin, which is an illegal drug sold on the streets.

Opioids are drugs that bind to certain receptors in the central nervous system, and in doing so, they create a sense of euphoria and also slow down the action of the CNS. The CNS controls respiration, and if someone takes too large a dose of opioids, their respiration can slow down to a dangerous level or stop altogether.

This is what’s known as an opioid overdose, and tens of thousands of people die from drug overdoses (particularly because of opioids) every year in the U.S.

As national recognition has grown regarding how pervasive and severe the opioid epidemic has become, there have been measures put in place to reduce the deaths and help prevent the negative consequences that come with using these drugs.

Narcan has also become more widely available. The following provides key information about Narcan statistics and Narcan facts.

Narcan Statistics and Facts | Can you Overdose on Narcan? | Is Narcan Addictive?
Narcan is a brand name nasal spray version of the drug naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it reverses the effects of opioid use, and an opioid overdose. It does this by knocking the drugs out of the opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Naloxone can be administered as a shot, while Narcan is specifically a nasal spray that can be given during an overdose.

While Narcan and naloxone are technically prescription drugs, there has been a big national push to make them as widely available and as accessible as possible. In most states, you can purchase Narcan over-the-counter, and it’s even becoming increasingly available in schools.

In 2015 the CDC released a report on overdose prevention, focusing on providing naloxone to laypersons.

The following are some Narcan statistics and naloxone statistics derived from that large-scale report:

  • In the past four years leading up to the study, the number of organizations reporting they distributed naloxone doubled.
  • The study also showed there were around 26,000 overdose reversals reported with the use of naloxone
  • The number of non-medical professionals trained on how to administer naloxone went up by 187% since 2010
  • The majority of overdose reversals were done on people by their loved ones

The results of this study and others like it have shown medical and emergency professionals as well as lawmakers, that for naloxone to have a maximum level of effectiveness, it needs to be available to the people most likely to be present during an overdose. The objective of most measures involving Narcan and naloxone is to give people who could be near someone who overdoses the drugs and resources they need to save their loved one’s life before emergency services arrive.

Despite how much its use has gone up and how many lives it saves, there are still some misconceptions people have about Narcan. The following are some key Narcan facts.

  • You can’t get high from using Narcan. This is because naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it reverses or blocks the effects of opioids. It doesn’t itself act as an opioid.
  • It’s also not possible to become addicted to Narcan, no matter how often you used it.
  • Narcan can be administered several times during an overdose. Usually, a person should start responding and come out of their overdose within about two minutes after the first dose is taken. If this doesn’t happen, it can be given multiple times while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
  • Most insurance plans, both public and private, cover some or all of the cost of Narcan or naloxone injections, and the makers of Narcan have worked to try and make it affordable for as many people as possible if they’re paying out-of-pocket.
  • There are very few side effects of Narcan, but the biggest is that after it’s administered a person may begin experiencing immediate opioid withdrawal symptoms. This isn’t deadly, but it can be uncomfortable.
  • Narcan or naloxone don’t replace the need for emergency care following an overdose. Instead of a replacement for medical care, Narcan is viewed as a way to help a person stay alive while they wait for that care.
  • If you take Narcan and you’re not overdosing on opioids or using opioids, nothing will happen.
  • Narcan doesn’t have the ability to reverse an overdose from drugs of other classes. For example, it wouldn’t reverse a benzodiazepine overdose. It only works for opioid overdoses. With that being said, if you took multiple types of drugs or also drank alcohol before overdosing on opioids, the Narcan will still work to reverse the effects of just the opioids.

So to sum up, Narcan is an opioid antagonist that can be given to someone to reverse an opioid overdose. It’s a prescription drug but is usually available over the counter, and it can’t get a person high, nor is it addictive.

Narcan Statistics and Facts
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