Opioid use is rampant around the country. People are easily addicted to the painkiller, and overdoses are becoming more and more common.

Anyone who uses opioids or has a family member who is prescribed opioids should consider purchasing naloxone, or Narcan, a drug that can reverse the effects of opioids.

Naloxone is a drug employed to combat opioid overdoses by interfering with the way the narcotic interacts with the body. While paramedics carry the drug in intravenous doses, naloxone is available over the counter for use at home when responding to emergencies.

An overdose can result in a depressed respiratory rate. If you don’t reverse it, that person could suffer brain damage.

Although some people overdose on purpose, there have been instances with the elderly who forget they’ve taken their medicine and take it again, accidentally overdosing on the medicine.

Using naloxone doesn’t mean avoiding a trip to the hospital. With some people, the over-the-counter dosage is not enough. Anyone who has to use naloxone should go to the nearest hospital immediately for further treatment.

Prescriptions aren’t required to purchase naloxone, and some insurance companies will help with the cost. A local pharmacist recommends getting a prescription anyway. 

“A lot of providers now won’t prescribe medication unless they’re sure the patient has naloxone available, just because of safety,” said Ernie’s Pharmacy Pharmacist Niki Sykora.

Having naloxone on hand can save a life. It’s worth the expense.