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People may have another tool to fight the opioid epidemic

In the midst of all the turmoil going on in the world today, some Ohio residents may have forgotten about the people who ended up with an addiction they never intended to have. The opioid epidemic continues despite anything else going on across the country. Both fortunately and unfortunately, people may have access to a drug that could help save the life of someone they know who suffers from this addiction.

Naloxone can be used in emergencies when a person overdoses on opioids. It immediately reverses the effects of medications such as codeine, fentanyl, heroin and oxycodone, which are the most popular opiates. This medication, sold as Narcan (registered trademark), blocks an opioid from reaching receptors in the brain. Opioids work by blocking certain receptors in the brain associated with pain, which is why they work so well.

Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive, and doctors here in Ohio and elsewhere prescribe them to treat pain from a variety of injuries. After taking these medications for a while, an individual could easily develop an addiction. As is the case with their illegal counterpart, heroin, it takes more and more of the drug to block the pain. Under these circumstances, it is easy to overdose.

Even though Naloxone cannot be obtained over the counter, it may not require a prescription. However, it would require some instruction and education from a pharmacist. The most popular form of the medication given to consumers is a nasal spray that could help in an emergency. Some organizations, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, recommend that anyone addicted to opioids or who knows someone addicted to opioids have this on hand, just in case. Beyond helping someone through an overdose, family members of someone suffering from an addiction, or someone working through an addiction, may want to obtain an explanation of any legal options that may be available with regard to holding drug companies legally responsible for their part in the opioid epidemic.

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