Narcan Counters Heroin and other Narcotic Overdoses

. September 1, 2016.
Naloxone-nasal-spray

By Stephen Roberts PhD

A friend of mine purchased the opportunity to have dinner with firefighters at a fundraiser event to benefit a Toledo homeless shelter. He invited my wife and I to go with him and members of his family to Fire Station 6 on Oak Street on Toledo’s East Side.

While interacting with the friendly and dedicated firefighters, we talked about their lives on the job. They related how the current narcotic/heroin issue is a frequent basis for calls and EMS runs.

Phil Moline, a firefighter/paramedic at #16,  explained the use of Narcan, also known as Naloxone, as a medication that can reverse heroin, fentanyl (or other opioid) overdoses by overcoming  the opioids effect on the brain and restoring breathing. It works rapidly,  in under 10 minutes, and has been used safely for 40 years.

A campaign,  started this past May, by the Ohio Departments of Health and of Mental Health and Addiction Services seeks to raise awareness of opiate and other drug overdoses, while  encouraging people to obtain Narcan (primarily in spray form, and available at the county health department and local pharmacies) to use in case of an overdose of a family member or friend.

Signs of heroin, fentanyl or other narcotic drug overdose, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), are:

  • Fingernails and lips having a blue color
  • Face being very pale and or clammy
  • Body going limp
  • Vomiting or gurgling noises
  • Being unable to speak or wake up
  • Breathing and heartbeat becoming very slow
  • Not responding to rubbing knuckles on sternum or under nose.

SAMHSA recommends, if you suspect that a person has overdosed on narcotics such as heroin or fentanyl, calling 911 before or while administering Narcan.

One of the disturbing trends in the community that Moline has witnessed is drug users holding Narcan parties, when a group of people get together to use opiates, while designating one individual to remain drug free to administer Narcan if an overdose occurs. However, people often have a false sense of security with the use of Narcan, and may leave the overdosing individual alone after helping them cope initially.   The medication,  lasting only a short time, can allow the user to slip into another overdose. Overdosed users should be taken to a hospital emergency room to fully recover from the overdose.

If you suspect that friends or loved ones use heroin and other opiates it is advisable to have Narcan available and to know how to administer it.

For more information www.helpwithheroin.com

Trending

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

A musical comedy follows Monty, the heir to a family fortune who juggles his fiancee, his mistress, and plans to murder the line of succession. 7:30pm. 8pm Friday, November 10. 2pm and 8pm Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12. $22-$88. Stranahan Theater 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. 419-381-8851 | stranahantheater.org

The Nutcracker at The Valentine Theater

Enjoy the Ballet Theatre of Toledo’s annual Nutcracker performance. Special showing on Friday; regular performances run Saturday, November 25 at 7pm and Sunday, November 26 at 2pm. $25-$40. The Valentine Theater 410 Adams St. | 419-242-2787 ballettheatreoftoledo.org

A Veteran Helping Veterans

At 79, most of us are, or at least hope to be, thoroughly retired. Not so for Gordon Wright, Director of Dining Services and Executive Chef at Whitehouse Country Manor. Wright, who served in the army between 1957 and 1960, claims he will always be busy. “Busy hands, busy feet, busy mind. I have to

Look Good: Feel Good

When you feel good your body reflects it. Your hair and skin glow, your energy soars and your mental health is stable. What is not to love about that. Our experts here give us some insight about what they do to stay healthy. Advanced Wellness and Chiropractic Center 3454 Oak Alley Ct. #100. 419-535-9600. Wellness4toledo.com