Special Report: Why a simple nasal spray in your first aid kit can stop overdose deaths
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — For an increasing number of families, the opioid epidemic is not someone else’s problem – it’s highly personal. A San Diego pharmacist and a San Diego paramedic agree that a relatively inexpensive drug could make a difference in preventing overdose deaths.
AMR paramedic Ennis Jackson estimates he’s saved more than 100 people from opioid overdoses in his career spanning almost 30 years, by administering the drug Naloxone to reverse the effects of the opioid. “In San Diego County, it’s more than a daily occurrence,” Jackson said.
According to the ambulance company, AMR responded to 573 incident of suspected opioid overdoses in 2015, 599 in 2016 and 773 in 2017.
The drug, Naloxone which is delivered through the nasal passages or by injection works to block the effects of the opioids on the brain. In less than five minutes, the effects of an overdose can be reversed.
Emergency responders are not the only people who can save lives. This month, the Surgeon General issued a rare advisory, urging more Americans to take the extra step and purchase Naloxone which is sold under the brand name, Narcan, from their local pharmacy to use in the event of an emergency.
CVS pharmacist Hillary Reaber explained that no prescription from a doctor is needed.
Any consumer can purchase the antidote, even if they do not have a prescription for an opioid. Reaber said overdoses do not just occur in people with addictions. A family member may want to have Narcan close by, in case of an accidental overdose.
The Narcan nasal spray which we saw at the CVS pharmacy was priced at about 90 dollars. In many instances, health insurance will cover most of the cost, or as we found in the case of the pharmacist who checked her own policy, some policies have no co-pay.
By law, pharmacists must give the person buying the overdose antidote, a brief in-store consultation, which explains how to prevent and recognize the signs of an overdose as well as how to use the drug.
The Narcan nasal spray which we saw, was priced at about 90 dollars. In many instances, health insurance will cover most of the cost, or as we found in the case of the pharmacist who checked her own policy, there was no co-pay.
More than a drug that can save a person from the brink of death, the Surgeon General would have us believe that it can also be the key to a second chance.