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Naloxone kits could end up being lifesavers

NMU Pharmacy has received 492 naloxone kits from the Michigan Department of Human and Health Services. The kits will be distributed free of charge at NMU’s Fall Festival on Tuesday.

Janice Nolan, a pharmacist at NMU Pharmacy, noted that data has shown suspected overdoses increased nationally by 18% in March, 29% in April and 42% in May, compared with 2019.

There are several factors that could have contributed to these sobering statistics. They include social distancing, financial stress, limited health care and disruptions in the drug trade.

And as most of us know, the COVID-19 pandemic is an extremely stressful time that impacts different people in different ways.

Nolan said overdoses have become the hidden epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic. She explained that research has shown up to a 40% decrease in opioid prescriptions form 2014-2019.

Yet, this has not correlated with a decrease in opioid overdoses.

So, what is naloxone? According to Drugs.com, which provides information on thousands of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products, naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing or loss of consciousness.

A naloxone injection, then, is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation, but should not be used in place of emergency medical care for an overdose.

In other words, if an opioid overdose is suspected, or a person is not breathing or is unresponsive, a naloxone injection should be given right away. Then emergency care can be sought.

All this is not to say that opioid addiction is not a problem or should be ignored. However, it’s a fact that some people wrestle with the problem, and as an immediate solution is available to handle it on an emergency basis, a naloxone kit could be a lifesaver.

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