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Simple and safe to use, Narcan can save lives

Mar 18, 2019

Our community continues to struggle with the impact of opioid use. But we are also mobilizing in response to this epidemic of addiction. Police, firefighters, paramedics, health care workers, elected officials, community leaders and others have come together to reduce the harm to our friends and family from substance abuse.

Sometimes, simple strategies can have an impact—for opioid use, administering Narcan is one such action.

People who are exposed to these drugs, whether through illicit use or by prescription, are at risk for an overdose. Fortunately, Narcan is a safe, effective tool to reverse opioid overdoses and save lives.

Narcan, also called naloxone, works by binding to the opioid receptors in a person’s brain and reversing the effects of opioids. It is extremely safe to use, and has an effect only on a person with opioids in his or her system.

The surgeon general recently recommended that if you are likely to encounter someone who uses opioids, you should carry Narcan.

In many local communities, partners are working to make Narcan widely available and measure the impact of this strategy on opioid-related deaths. Some of this work is supported by Interact for Health.

Narcan is effective and easy to use, and kits are often available at low or no cost. It can keep someone alive until emergency medical help arrives. To get a Narcan kit, contact your local health department.

Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens is the president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health and InterAct for Change. Dr. Owens is a reproductive endocrinologist. He earned an MD, an OB/GYN residency and a master’s of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also obtained a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. In recent years, Dr. Owens has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President, and Interim Health Commissioner and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Health Department.  

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