California programs are waiting weeks for free Narcan to prevent overdose deaths
If you’re in an overdose, Narcan works to reverse the effects. Here’s how to use it.
“If I am the one dying and I have taken a lethal dose of heroin, I am going to call 911. And, I want all those people walking around thinking they are going to save me. I am not in that situation. I don’t know how to tell anyone else how I am doing.”
— John, 43, a college grad and dad
We all know someone who would be a prime candidate for a Narcan patch in a minute, but the drug is so easily abused that a simple patch is rarely put on. We’ve written over the years about the drug’s popularity, its dangers, the need for a patch. Yet those warnings seem to fall on deaf ears.
That’s not to say we’re not trying. A few years ago, we were inundated with calls from people who wanted help. Some were kids, like the 14-year-old from Georgia who wanted to die — and wanted a Narcan patch. Some were parents, like the mom from Oregon who’s looking to die. Some were family members, like the mother from Wisconsin who wants to die — and has lost two children on his drug use.
Still, for the most part, we found people weren’t using Narcan as often as we thought. In fact, we found a lot of people said they didn’t know how to use it.
So, as the opioid crisis persists, and as the National Institute on Drug Abuse is now trying to figure out how to better train doctors on proper application of Narcan, our hope is that the drug will be more widely used. So far, our stories are the exceptions to the rule — the ones that bring us to Narcan’s defense.
Narconon, the needle exchange
Narconon, a nonprofit organization based in San Diego, wants to be the drug treatment group that saves lives.
In the U.S., about 40,000 people die each year from drug overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The majority of those who die — about 15,000 — are from heroin. There are more than 1.3 million people in their prime age bracket who inject heroin, or use opioid pills. Most of them don’t know a way out of their addiction