All month long, we’ve been sharing stories on the topic of heroin and opioid abuse.
Just yesterday, Governor Snyder signed legislation to allow pharmacies in Michigan to dispense the overdose reversal drug, Narcan to everyone over the counter.
It can mean the difference between life and death.
Noloxone, better known as Narcan, is a drug that reverses the affects of a deadly overdose and now, that drug will be available at local pharmacies.
“That difference between 2, 3, 4 5 minutes could be a very important difference,” says Phil Pavona.
Pavona has personally experienced that wait, he was there the first time his son, Eric, overdosed from heroin.
While Narcan did bring Eric back that time, when he was just 25-years old, Eric overdosed alone one night.
So while having Narcan wouldn’t have made a difference in this case, Pavona says, it will make one for many others.
“We have loved ones and family members that are going to be in the vicinity of wherever an addict is, to be able to take control and save the person’s life,” says Pavona.
Until now, only law enforcement, first responders, and doctors could administer Narcan, now pharmacists will teach anyone who buys it, the steps how to administer the drug in an emergency.
“We know that an overdose can happen very quickly, so if that resource is already there, that tool is immediately available, it’s more likely to be effective,” says Jennifer Eisner, Public Information Officer with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
According to Eisner, pharmacies are required to keep track of the Narcan given out. While some question whether or not the accessibility will encourage more abuse, Michigan State Police Lt. Brian Bahlu says, it’s not an end all cure to all OD’s.
“If you get potentially, some fentanyl, or carfentanyl in your dose, that one dose of Narcan is not going to save you,” says Lt. Bahlu.
But while it can save some, it’s only a temporary fix to a much deeper problem.