Naloxone for Overdose – What Happens Next?

Naloxone for Overdose – What Happens Next?

Opioid abuse is a major problem in the United States. According to 2018 data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 128 people die every day from overdosing on opioids. [1]  More people could have lost their lives to opioid abuse if it wasn’t for a drug called naloxone. Naloxone for overdose has worked to save many people, but it’s not enough to get people to stop using the drug and fight the nation’s opioid crisis. Let’s take a look at opioids, how naloxone works, and how a visit to an Arizona opioid rehab can help.

What Drugs are Considered Opioids?

Many different drugs are considered opioids. Doctors may prescribe opioids to help patients deal with pain. [2] These medicines include:

  • Oxycontin
  • Vicodin
  • Morphine
  • Methadone

Although these are prescribed drugs, they often get abused by those who they were intended for and by those who get the drugs illegally. There are also illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl. All of these drugs can be deadly.

Opioids are a very dangerous class of drugs because they trigger your brain to release endorphins to make you feel good. Endorphins create a temporary sense of well-being. When the drug wears off, your body wants more to regain that feeling as soon as possible. Over time, your body builds a tolerance of the drug and it wants more to get that same good feeling. [3]

What is Naloxone for Overdose and How Does it Work?

When people overdose on opioids, they can be given naloxone to help reverse the effects. [4] Naloxone works by binding to opioid receptors to block the effects of other opioids. When people are overdosing, their breathing either stops or slows down. By administering naloxone, a person’s breathing will begin to go back to normal. 

The FDA has approved three forms of naloxone. There is an injectable form that needs to be given by trained personnel. There is also an auto-injectable. Sold under the name Evzio, this prefilled needle can be injected into the outer thigh. Once it’s activated, the person administering it gets verbal instructions. This pre-filled injectable can be used by family members trying to help as well as emergency personnel. [4]

Perhaps the most well-known use of naloxone comes in the form of a pre-packaged nasal spray called Narcan. This is sprayed into a person’s nostrils when they’re lying down. Emergency personnel can give this or it can be given at home if an overdose occurs.

It’s advised that people who receive naloxone be monitored until emergency care arrives. Medical personnel should also observe them for at least two hours after to make sure their breathing hasn’t slowed or stopped.

A CDC study revealed that 27,000 lives were saved as a result of Narcan kits given to friends and family who were able to reverse an overdose. [5]

Naloxone Side Effects

While naloxone is extremely successful in treating opioid overdoses, there are some side effects. These include withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Sweating

All of these side effects are common, but should also be monitored.

Get Help at an Arizona Opioid Rehab

The need for help dealing with opioid abuse is real in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Health Services estimates that between June 2017 and August 2020 there were more than 48,000 suspected opioid overdoses and nearly 28,000 naloxone doses given. [6]

While naloxone can stop an overdose, it can’t help someone from abusing opioids. To do this, it’s important to get addiction treatment.

At Silver Sands Recovery, we know that everyone’s addiction is different. This is why we customize each treatment program to fit the individual patient. This treatment plan may include detox to rid the body of the drug completely, as well as therapy to help people talk through their problems. We understand that there are underlying causes that lead a person to abuse substances. We work to uncover these so that they can be addressed. 

If you’re ready to take the first step to sobriety, call Silver Sands Recovery today. Our team is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call. You can also fill out a confidential form online to get in touch with us.  Let us help you get the help you deserve.

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372

[4] https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-overdose-reversal-naloxone-narcan-evzio

[5] https://www.cadca.org/resources/cdc-report-narcan-kits-save-nearly-27000-lives

[6] https://www.azdhs.gov/prevention/womens-childrens-health/injury-prevention/opioid-prevention/index.php

 

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