Narcan 2 – Nursey McNurseyJudgeyPants….. The sequel.


I had to give this one its own name.  It is alive and well.  We are not just debating this on SMYS, it is everywhere. 

Narcan, Sold over the counter with education by the pharmacist.  This is for people to purchase if they have opiate addicts in their lives who may be in danger of overdosing andnarcan3 dying.  Only 27 pharmacies in Ohio are currently selling it because all Pharmacists must be signed off by a Physician to give the necessary administration education for narcan to the purchaser. Instructions have to be given because of the short half life and the absolutely DESPERATE need for the patient to seek medical attention immediately.  This is, as I have said before, nothing but a second chance.  It is a pause button, if you will.  We have given them a single chance to live.  The only thing they have to do is seek medical care.

So, you might say, “They won’t.”  

Noncompliant patients are noncompliant patients.  We deal with them every single day.  

  • Diabetics continue to eat badly and not take their meds.
  • Hypertensives continue to not take their medications and eat too much salt.
  • CHF patients sometimes don’t take their lasix.
  • COPD patients continue to smoke with oxygen hanging out of their noses.

And we still help them. We give them insulin, we give them lisinopril, we diurese them, we counsel them about diet, exercise, smoking, and medication compliance.

But, because they are an addict,  we do not feel like they need access to lifesaving medication? Do you realize that you are denying an obese type 2 diabetic insulin here? 

Oh wait. You mostly can't.

Oh wait. You mostly can’t.

It is the same thing.  Their life choices may have caused their issue.  The COPD patient who did not quit smoking should not DIE because you decided it was their fault.

When Hurricane Katrina happened, I watched a newsclip of a nurse at the superdome shouting at the crowd, while attending to a person slumped in a wheelchair.  I was in tears. She was shouting “I need REGULAR INSULIN.”

There was an emergency, and she gave medication that did not even belong to that patient, without an order, to a patient in crisis.  <I am not advocating giving medication without an order> Would you do anything different in an emergency?

So WHY are you so concerned about family members procuring narcan to save their family members who are at risk of opiate overdose?

These are illnesses.  They are diseases.  Any of them could have been caused by their life choices.  But we care for them narcan4

We are so careful to make sure we control that blood glucose level, maintain optimal oxygenation, and keep track of those inputs and outputs.  How about we also care whether addicts die in a dirty room with a needle hanging out of their arm, 3 minutes too far away from help for it to matter? When we can just hit them with narcan, since all the the side effects of narcan are less serious and less permanent than an anoxic brain injury.

So Care, Nurse.  Keep caring. Keep saving lives.  Keep wishing for your patients to take responsibility for their health. Keep educating.

Without your McNurseyJudgeyPants.












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Author Janie Garner

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Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Mary says:

    Thank you on behalf of all of us who have either dealt with addiction ourselves or have family members who are addicts.

  • RehabRN says:

    Yes, it is scary that no one cares. A relative (also a nurse) recently saw a man down on the sidewalk in front of Macy’s in Chicago. People kept walking by. She stopped. He was unresponsive.

    One passerby said, “It’s probably a heroin overdose.” and walked by. She told the passerby, “So what. We can’t leave him like that.”

    She proceeded to call 911 and stay with the man until help arrived. Yes, he was given Narcan and taken away by ambulance.

    Nurses don’t just walk on by. No one else should either.

  • Ramona Gonzaez says:

    I remember being at the Supersome and giving medication ALL DAY and NIGHT to people who showed up by the hundreds packed in overloaded buses, no insulin for days, surviving on donated snacks for days of travel, still in the clothes they were rescued in out of the ruins….no Meds, no doctors orders, lost and separated from their families. Many were addicts from the wards of New Orleans. Did we give life saving measures without orders? Yes! Did we provide wound care, trach care, you-name-it-care? Yes! Same thing in Haiti….we start IV’s to hydrate people off the side of the road …..could be addicts… We do things we couldn’t dream of here. We care about life!!! IT DOESNT MATTER!! We are nurses and we care for life…human life…ANY life!! Let’s all agree to treat lives with dignity and respect regardless of their personal choices. Let’s choose life!!! And if that means narcan, then so be it!!!

  • Brooke Edwards says:

    Wow. This one is so unbelievably true. Thank you so much for being who you are & putting this in a way that people might understand!

  • Bridgette says:

    My son is a heroin addict. My son. My beautiful baby boy. Big blue eyes, wicked sense of humor, bright, gregarious, charismatic, father, brother, best friend. He is clean right now but there have been slips. You are damn right i want someone close to him to know how to intervene . He is worth it. Everyone is worth it. Again and again and again if necessary. Do the right thing. I see the same patients over and over and i would never deny them the care that they need. Ever. So if you can/we can potentially do one thing to save another’s life just do it.

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