With the recent overdose of pop singer Demi Lovato, early reports were saying that she was unresponsive and Narcan was used to save her life. Her friends and family had been keeping it on hand, even weeks before her overdose. A day after the news broke, I read an article in the Metro about the Philadelphia Department of Health’s efforts to inform the public about Narcan. It’s used every day to reverse in-progress opioid overdoses.

While I don’t have anyone in my life (that I know of) who uses opioids, I have lost friends to addiction and I live in Philadelphia and see the effects of the opioid epidemic every single day. So what can we do? Well, today I will be heading to a pharmacy to pick up Narcan, and I’m asking you to do the same. The opioid crisis is happening everywhere, and Narcan is out there and readily available to anyone, and it’s our best chance to help.

Narcan (and it’s generic equal Naloxone) is lifesaving medication, typically used by emergency professionals, but the state of Pennsylvania has a standing order for Narcan. This standing order acts as a sort of prescription for the entire state – making the drug available to everyone. Anyone can walk into a Philadelphia pharmacy (all ACME pharmacies have it too) and ask for Narcan (or Naloxone) and have it billed to their insurance. Some medicaid recipients can also get it for free, and there are programs out there that can help to cover the co-pay. You can obtain a prescription from a doctor or use the standing order prescription, which is kept on file at many pharmacies, or can be downloaded here.

Philadelphia had 1200 overdose deaths in 2017 alone. Just this past weekend there were over 100 overdoses on Friday evening into Saturday morning, but only 3 deaths – likely because of Narcan. The numbers are staggering and opioid use is rising all over the country. The Philadelphia Department of health says that ‘anyone who knows someone using opioids should carry Narcan’, but you don’t need to know anyone personally. Be prepared to save the life of an acquaintance or a stranger. A fellow human being. Having it on hand or in your home is best because time is a major factor in overdoses. The drug is easy to administer too, and in some cases Narcan is available as a nasal spray.

Find free training online HERE – or attend one of the city’s free in-person training sessions. The schedule is HERE and the next two sessions will be held:

August 8th – PDPH Overdose Awareness & Reversal Training 6:30-7:30pm at Walnut St. West, 201 S 40th St.

August 13th – PDPH Overdose Awareness & Reversal Training 6:00-7:00pm at 1700 S Broad St.

Thanks for reading.

~ Kristen

Here is an incredibly helpful website for how to get and use Naloxone/Narcan.