Narcan is a medication that treats opioid overdose. If someone has taken an overdose of opioid drugs, the timely administration of Narcan could save their life. With this in mind, it’s important to know how to get Narcan in advance so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Read on for an overview of where to buy Narcan or get it for free.
What Is Narcan?
Narcan is the brand name of the drug naloxone. This medication reverses the effects of opioids, including hydrocodone, heroin, morphine and codeine. It can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose, such as dangerous low blood pressure, slow breathing or an irregular pulse.
How Does Narcan Work?
Opioids cause reactions in the body by binding to opioid receptors. Because Narcan is specifically designed to target opioids, it can detach the opioid molecules from the receptors and end their potentially harmful effects.
What Happens If You Give Narcan to Someone Who Doesn’t Need It?
If you give Narcan to someone who hasn’t taken an overdose of opioids, nothing happens. Narcan doesn’t typically cause side effects or harm to people who don’t need it.
It’s important to remember that Narcan has no impact on people who’ve taken other, non-opioid drugs. If someone is high on stimulant drugs, for example, Narcan won’t have any effect on them. You’ll need to seek medical attention for the drug user so they can receive treatment for the specific type of drug they’ve taken.
How to Get Narcan
In some states, including Florida, public health organizations provide Narcan to certain people. The goal is to get those who are likely to come into contact with people overdosing on opioids to carry Narcan. In this way, the drug is more likely to be available for use when it’s needed.
At the time of this writing, three states subsidize the cost of Narcan entirely, Ohio Delaware and Iowa. Through initiatives and policy organizations and government have decided that this harm reduction policy is likely to save lives by making the medication more widely available.
Nalaxone is usually a prescription drug. However, most states allow people who are at risk of overdosing, or who have family members at risk, to access it without a prescription. This is known as getting nalaxone by standing order. Notably, first responders can always obtain Narcan for free.
Where to Buy Narcan
If you think there’s a chance you might need Narcan at some point in the future, you can ask about it at a pharmacy. Explain why you need Narcan and the pharmacist will likely allow you to buy it under the standing order program.
How Much Is Narcan?
The cost of nalaxone varies widely. The generic version of the drug typically costs between $20 and $40. The branded version, Narcan, costs $130 to $140 for two doses.
Narcan comes in the form of an easy-to-use nasal spray. The spray is already assembled and can be immediately discharged into the nostril of someone who’s overdosing on opioids. Some other brands of naloxone must be injected into a muscle using a needle, which will be more challenging for someone without medical training.
If you have medical insurance, check with your insurance company to see if it covers nalaxone. You might be able to get your insurance to cover some or all of the cost.
Where to Get Narcan for Free Near Me
For most, spending a lot of money on Narcan is not an option — so you’ll need to know where to get Narcan for free. Thankfully, there are many community-based distribution programs and public health groups that offer nalaxone for free.
To find out where to get Narcan for free, search for local opioid recovery services or harm reduction programs in your area. If you’re a family member or close friend of someone who uses opioids, there’s a good chance you can obtain free doses.
Should You Carry Narcan?
If you have a family member or loved one who uses opioids, Narcan is an invaluable resource to have on hand. You’ll want to have it so you can help them if they accidentally or deliberately overdose.
When someone is overdosing, it’s very important to act quickly. Therefore, you need to have the medication you need close by to reverse the overdose and save your loved one’s life.
Important Next Steps After Narcan
After you use Narcan to reverse an overdose, you should seek immediate medical attention for the person who’s been using opioids. A single dose of Narcan doesn’t always completely reverse an overdose. Call 911 to ensure the person gets the immediate medical help they need.
Stay with the person until emergency medical providers arrive. It’s very important that someone receives continuous monitoring for at least 2 hours after they’re given Narcan to ensure their breathing doesn’t become dangerously slow. This isn’t an effect of the Narcan but rather an effect of the opioids that Narcan might not be able to fully reverse.
If someone is physically dependent on opioids, giving them Narcan might cause them to experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms, which include headaches, sweating, tremors, nausea and rapid heart rate, can occur within minutes of receiving Narcan if the person has a physical dependence. They’re usually not life-threatening, but they can be very uncomfortable, so it’s best to seek help for the person suffering them.
Once someone has recovered physically from their opioid overdose, the next step is to seek help to treat the opioid addiction that caused them to overdose. Recovery from opioid addiction is tough but entirely possible with the right support.
Recovery organizations can provide medications to help people stop using opioids while managing their withdrawal symptoms. They also provide emotional and practical support to help the person focus on their recovery.
Seek Help for Opioid Addiction After Using Narcan
If you’ve needed to use Narcan to reverse an opioid overdose, it may be time to seek professional help.
A better life is possible, and it starts at Restore. Our team of professionals is on call to help you take the first steps to beating opioid addiction. Contact us today to get started.