As a pain management clinic, Southern Coast Spine & Pain Specialists are committed to providing safe and effective treatments for our patients. This includes the use of opioids for pain relief, but we also recognize the potential risks associated with opioid use, such as the risk of overdose. That is why we prescribe Narcan, a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses, to our patients.
Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a medication that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain. It can be administered through injection, nasal spray, or auto-injector. Narcan is a life-saving medication that can help prevent fatalities from opioid overdoses.
Opioid addiction has become a national crisis in the United States, with staggering statistics highlighting its impact. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 10 million people in the U.S. aged 12 or older misused opioids in 2019, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that opioid-involved overdose deaths increased to 69,710 in 2020, with synthetic opioids being the primary driver of the increase. These statistics demonstrate the urgent need for effective strategies to address opioid addiction and prevent overdose fatalities.
In addition to prescribing Narcan, we also educate our patients and their families on how to use it in case of an emergency. It is important to know the signs of an overdose, which can include shallow breathing, blue lips or nails, and unresponsiveness. If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately and administer Narcan if you have it.
We understand that some patients may feel hesitant about carrying Narcan or administering it to someone else. However, we believe that it is better to be prepared and have the ability to save a life in case of an emergency. It is important to note that Narcan is not addictive and does not have any negative side effects if administered to someone who is not experiencing an overdose.
Overdose resources are crucial in the fight against the opioid crisis in the United States. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) provides a range of resources to help prevent and respond to overdose, including education on the use of Narcan or naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. According to ASAM, naloxone has saved over 26,000 lives since 1996. However, despite its effectiveness, naloxone distribution and access vary across the country. ASAM also reports that in 2020, synthetic opioids were involved in nearly 73% of opioid-involved overdose deaths. These statistics highlight the importance of widespread access to overdose resources, including naloxone, to help prevent fatal overdoses and address the ongoing opioid epidemic.
If you are prescribed Narcan, make sure to keep it in a readily accessible location and ensure that family members or others who may need to administer it are aware of its location and how to use it. It is also important to keep Narcan up-to-date and replace expired doses.
At Southern Coast Spine & Pain Specialists, we are committed to providing safe and effective pain management treatments to our patients. Prescribing Narcan is just one of the ways we work to ensure the safety of our patients and their families. If you have any questions or concerns about Narcan or any other medication, please do not hesitate to speak with one of our healthcare providers.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid Overdose: Understanding the Epidemic. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Naloxone. https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/naloxone
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Naloxone DrugFacts. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/naloxone