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October 19, 2017 06:12 PM

Nalaxone: Helping Fight The Opioid Epidemic

Health officials and law enforcement held a convention to address the national opioid crisis happening yesterday. Avera Hospital and Hy-Vee pharmacies have joined forces to put up a fight against the crisis by making one drug more available to consumers. 

Earlier this year, Naloxone became available without a prescription only requiring a physician-signed protocol. 

"It's designed for reversing opioid overdoses. And that's basically its only function, to counteract those side effects of an opioid and overdose," Paramedic Matthew Gruchow said. 

Gruchow says the drug can save lives, just as long as it's in the right hands.

"I've had to push it a few times. In our training we're taught to give just enough to get the person breathing normal again; there's some dangers to pushing it too fast into a patient," Gruchow said. 

That can include the patient becoming violent or being allergic. But Matthew Stanley with Avera says not having any at all can result in an even worse scenario. 

"So it's important that you have it with you at the moment; it's not something you want to wait a long time to get a hold of and administer," Stanley said. 

Naloxone is most commonly administered in a nasal spray but can also be administered in the form of a self-administered shot. 

Stanley hopes those who have someone in their lives that they feel may overdose will take advantage of the program and have the drug on hand, just in case. 
"You never know when it may happen and it can save your life. Where as without it, it is a dire medical emergency," Stanley said. 

"It's strictly as a tool to save a life. But the life is going to only be truly saved until they address that addiction," Gruchow said. 
If you would like to learn more about recognizing signs of an opioid overdose or how to administer the medication, contact any Hy-Vee pharmacists or Avera health care professionals in your area. 

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