PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Narcan’s accessibility varies from state to state, and now Clackamas County health officials are issuing a public health advisory to parents as the opioid crisis hits teens.
Clackamas County health officials say they are seeing an increased use of opioids and fentanyl in teenagers.
Public health officials say the increase in overdoses is driven largely by fentanyl found in illegal pills and powders. Teens and youth are specifically being targeted online.
Naloxone, most popularly sold under the brand name, Narcan, is an opioid antagonist. It reverses the effects of an overdose by binding the receptors in one’s brain and knocking off the opioid, which has attached itself — stopping an overdose and saving a life.
Harm reduction advocates say that it should be a household item.
“Much like CPR, we hope that people will become aware of naloxone, that it is the antidote to an overdose, it should be part of the community effort to protect ourselves,” said Josh Luftig, the director for harm reduction at California Bridge.
Luftig believes, at the very least, that Narcan should be available in every emergency department and that hopefully it would trickle down into higher visibility and more availability.
“These deaths, this crisis that we’re having… almost every death is preventable, like it’s just heartbreaking to realize the degree of which this is an unnecessary crisis,” Luftig said.
Outside-in, a nonprofit in Portland, offers Narcan for free to individuals. In doing so, the organization says that they have reversed nearly 2,000 overdoses.
CVS locations across the country have Narcan that can be purchased without a prescription, and in Oregon, it can be delivered to your residence.
A CVS spokesperson said some health insurance policies cover Naloxone at a low or no cost. However, the pharmacy said those without insurance can buy Naloxone nasal spray for $72.99 or a two-dose package of Narcan nasal spray is $89.99 for those without insurance.