Narcan – Judgey McJudgeyPants.

By February 13, 2016Dead, Health, Healthcare Policy

Narcan is being sold over the counter with education in many places now.  You can hear the screams of the self-righteous and uninformed from a million miles away.  I am going to assume that any person who reads this and is completely scandalized by my attempt to educate about narcan is simply uninformed and requires tutoring.  Because I don’t want to assume that you think ‘Those Damn Junkies Ought To Die’

Well, then.narcan

As a former ER Nurse, I love me some narcan.  It can turn an essentially dead person into a swinging, puking whirlwind of life in a moment.  Heroin overdose? Have 0.4 mg of This Party is OVER! And hopefully you got it fast enough that we have saved your brain.  So you can live to go to rehab someday.  This is because all people are precious, and I want all of them to live for as long as they can.  I am a grieving parent, myself (pedestrian accident) so I am firmly wired into the community who have lost their children due to drug overdose.  I wish there had been a vial of Narcan sitting there when my friends found their kids down.  Seriously.

Narcan does need to be sold with education, especially because of the half-life.  We all know they can obtund again in 20-30 minutes.  Or an hour.  They still have to come to the hospital, and they need to know that.  However, we cannot control that.  We can only give them this one precious second chance at life.  Yes, there are side effects associated with Narcan, but none of them are as serious as dead in 3 minutes.  We can usually fix the other ones.narcan2

And now we are giving it to the police as well! This is wonderful! The police usually get to scenes much faster than the ambulance, and they can inject it and save that person, who may go on to change lives for the better someday.  Maybe they will speak at your kids school about the dangers of drugs, and convince your kid to never try heroin WHEN it is offered to them. Because it will be offered to them.  And if you think it won’t, come visit me and I will take you to an extremely affluent area of St Louis where kids are dying in record numbers from heroin overdoses.  Good kids.  Smart kids.

And if you think that this will not save anyone, Let me direct you to this Time Magazine article about a 2013 study, and the use of Narcan in the community since 1996.

Sick people do not deserve to die because you disagree with their choices, Judgey McJudgeyPants.   






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Author Janie Garner

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Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Traci Hart RNC MSN says:

    I’m still undecided about this. Although you make very valid points, I think my biggest concern would be if this was used OTC, how many would actually go in for additional care? We all know as nurses that we can educate until we are blue in the face but patients hear what they want to. I do agree with law enforcement being able to have this & EMTs being able to administer. I need to do some more research to make a more informed decision on this issue.

    • Kathy says:

      I’m in the same boat as you. I’m all for cops to have it, definitely medics. But I think the rate of those receiving it in an OTC fashion actually following up on the ER will be abysmal. Also, I’m concerned that a kid who had enough fear not to try it just might because, after all, if it goes bad, there is narcan here to save me!

    • Janie Garner says:

      We cannot control that. However, it is not going to be the drug abuser buying the narcan. It will be family and friends. All we can do is offer this second chance at life. I do not see an issue.

  • Diane says:

    It still gives them a chance they didn’t have before it being available.
    I wonder if people thought the same thing about CPR ?

  • Teresa says:

    I’m all for OTC Narcan. I spent many years as a paramedic in the Las Vegas EMS system, as flawed as it may be, and this could only be an asset to what we already do. I’ve had junkies wake up and run out of the ambulance, but they were alive. Maybe they were running to their next fix, but they were breathing unassisted. Living, breathing, running. There may be thousands who get this drug OTC, with EMS, Police or with the hospital staff & if just one of those people turn their lives around because they got a second chance of “0.4mg of PARTY IS OVER” it’s worth it. I think some of the pain management doctors should require their clients to have this on hand while on some of these crazy doses.

  • Brenda F. Calvin, RN, BSN says:

    I see absolutely no difference between having Narcan available versus AED’s. Education is the key and if it saves just one lost soul from an unintentional or even an intentional overdose then it is worth it! We. Don’t have a ‘golden hour’ with an OD. We get precious few minutes. Just as birth control does not encourage safe sex, Narcan OTC will not encourage drug use. But it can save a life so that they can get the help they need to fix the underlying problem. Would you deny an obese diabetic who has an MI a defibrillator? They are making life threatening choices….we nurses need to decide if we are going to judge our patients for their choices or work and advocate to heal them. I for one believe that every moment we can get before they get to us buys us minutes to save their lives, not just quantity but quality of life.

  • Naomi says:

    Thank you for writing this, Janie. Drug addiction and overdose is a huge problem in the Ohio Valley and Appalachia. Hundreds are dying. Not just “junkies” but first time users, young people who happened to make a poor choice one night. I believe it can be a good idea as long as those who are sold Narcan are also educated by their pharmacist. Hopefully it is not out on the shelf, but behind the counter so that this happens. I compare it to having an Epi-pen. It can save a life while you are waiting for EMS.

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