Have you seen the ads for Naloxone popping up all over billboards along the Wasatch range? Utah Naloxone is an organization that seeks to prevent deaths from overdoses by making a powerful first aid resource available to everyone.
Utah Overdoses By The Numbers
Between 2012 and 2014, Utah had the fourth highest fatality rate from drug overdoses. Utah has the highest rate of death in veterans from opioid abuse. Every week, 6 people in Utah die from opioid use. Overdoses are the leading cause of injury death in Utah–even more common than vehicle accidents.
In an attempt to change this shocking statistic, Utah passed two laws in 2014. One to allow layperson access to life-saving Naloxone, and another called the Good Samaritan law, which offers immunity from certain drug charges to people who call for aid. That way, that they can get the medical and professional help they need without the fear of legal reprisal getting in the way.
What is Naloxone and How Does It Work?
Naloxone is a first response system that counters the symptoms of opioid overdoses. While it doesn’t heal, it will keep someone breathing until help arrives. It’s essential to still call for professional help, because opioids will continue to have an effect and slow down the body’s systems to a dangerous level, even though Naloxone’s effects wear off between 30 and 90 minutes.
Naloxone only counters symptoms of overdose from opioids. That includes heroine and many prescription painkiller drugs, like oxycodone, morphine, and demerol. It doesn’t work against other overdoses, like cocaine, methamphetamines, alcohol, or benzodiazepines. Naloxone has been used for years. It’s a very safe drug, and now they’re making it available for laypeople in order to reduce the fatality rates from overdose.
According to Utah Naloxone’s website, “From 1996-2014, these programs reported providing naloxone to 152,283 persons resulting in 26,463 overdose reversals and lives saved.”
For those who worry that making this counteragent more popular and available will make people more blase about the dangers of opioid addiction and overdose, studies are showing the opposite. More people are reaching out for help and recovery. We believe that one of the reasons for this is that it provides a definitive way that we can help people we love who are struggling with addiction. Enabling loved ones to reach out to those who are struggling is always a good way to open conversation, let people who struggle know that they are loved, and encourage them to take the step to recover.
What’s the Deal with Naxolone Kits?
Since these laws were passed, organizations are trying to let people know the value in having Naxolone on hand, especially if you or someone you love struggles with opioid addiction. These kits are available without a prescription, and are available to everyone. Laypeople administering the drug are protected from civil and criminal liability for administering naloxone when they see a need for it. To learn more, check out Utah Naxolone’s website.