This week the FDA approved Narcan — which is used to treat overdoses in an emergency situation — for over-the-counter sales.
“I have seen many people be Narcaned and revived and those same people would not be here today if Narcan were not around,” said Jacob Blair, Aspire Counseling Substance Use Disorder Counselor.
Mental health counselors say making Narcan more accessible is an important step in the right direction.
“Fentanyl is everywhere and overdoses are happening daily,” said Blair.
Blair explains it’s not just addicts who are overdosing.
“It could be the elderly getting fake pills with Fentanyl in it or teens experimenting and trying cocaine and there’s Fentanyl in it and they overdose," said Blair.
As of February 8th, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office says 40 deaths are being investigated as drug-related deaths so far this year. There are only 2 that have toxicology reports back and both are Fentanyl related. That number puts this year on track to exceed the number of overdoses in the county once again.
In 2021, 123 residents in San Luis Obispo County died of an overdose — up from 64 in 2020.
Doctor Brian Roberts explains people die of opioid overdoses because opioids are respiratory depressants and they stop breathing — making it vital to have Narcan on hand.
“Because it takes so long sometimes for EMS to get there, it has to be a person on the scene maybe who saw them go down or found them within a few minutes of when they went down,” said Dr. Brian Roberts, MedStop Urgent Care Madonna Plaza Medical Director.
According to Dr. Roberts the Narcan nasal spray is incredibly easy to use when assisting someone experiencing an overdose.
“You put it in their nose, you hit it once and it automatically delivers the right dose," said Dr. Roberts.
Narcan will not negatively impact the person administering the dose.
“Is there any risk for the person administering it? Yes. There’s a good chance it will be the best day of your life because you just saved another life,” said Dr. Roberts.
“Parents should be training their kids on how to use it and it should be in houses everywhere in my opinion,” said Blair.
Dr. Roberts says the price for Narcan ranges from $135-$185 at the moment, but there’s a strong push for the over-the-counter version to be significantly cheaper. We also spoke to pharmacists at Best Care Pharmacy who told us the price varies.
Dr. Roberts says he estimates the over-the-counter version of Narcan will be available sometime this summer.