Get to Know Naloxone, The Opioid Overdose Antidote Recommended by the Surgeon General
A kit containing the opioid overdose antidote that the surgeon general is advising to keep nearby.
Credit: Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
In the face of the opioid epidemic, there has been a rare advisory made by The U.S. Surgeon General about the importance of keeping naloxone - an opioid antidote that can reverse overdoses - on hand.
Naloxene is a drug medication designed to immediately reverse the effects of an overdose, long enough (30 to 90 minutes) to seek medical attention.
It is important to note that Naloxone is not addictive and it only works for overdoses from opioids. It can come in the form of a nasal spray or a syringe. While it does not solve the underlying problem of opioid addiction and subsequent overdose, it can save many lives in an emergency situation.
Who Should Carry It
According to an interview in this NY Times article with Robert Child (executive director of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition in Wilmington, N.C.), those who should carry the drug and be trained on how to use it are:
- active drug userspeople who live with or love drug users
- people who are coming out of prison or detox programs
- people who work in places where there are public bathrooms or where drug users congregate
Cost and Where To Get It
The cost ranges from $35 to $100+, but there are some public health programs that are able to distribute and train at a low cost or for free. In some states, naloxone can be purchased over the counter, but in states like California, it is only available by prescription.