Excerpts from WGNtv.com:

There’s an epidemic and a major push to stop it from being so deadly. Heroin is plaguing people in big cities across the country. Chicago is among the worst.

This week is National Opioid Awareness Week. What anyone who knows a heroin user needs to be aware of is an antidote that can immediately stop a heroin overdose. And it’s as readily available as the drug itself.

Seven days a week, the Chicago Recovery Alliance hands it out for free from a mobile unit that travels through the city.

Naloxone – also known as Narcan — has been on the market for 45 years. Treatment centers hand it out readily and it’s on the shelf at  local pharmacies. But just this week, Walgreens and Mariano’s began selling it over-the-counter. No prescription needed.

The spray is released into the mucous membranes in the nose.  Then it’s about a 2-5 minutes to wait to see if the patient responds. If not, there’s another dose of the spray in the package to try again.

Naloxone lasts between 30 to 90 minutes in the body depending on the dose. Heroin lasts longer, especially forms combined with fentanyl, a common practice to prolong the high,  so it’s important to call 911 as soon as possible before the patient experiences more breathing problems once the Naloxone wears off.

Ambulances have carried it for years and it’s on many fire trucks.  They have an injectable form and the nasal spray.

Despite the availability, some challenges remain. Naloxone is expensive and pharmacists are just beginning to get the word Naloxone can be distributed without a prescription.

thanks Dan

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