State Officials: Narcan kits part of solution to opioid epidemic

Published: Aug. 15, 2018 at 4:23 PM AKDT
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Health officials in Alaska are asking residents to be more active in taking action to help fight the abuse of opioid and prescription drug abuse. And part of that action is Naloxone kits, which can reverse the effects of an overdose.

"The power in these kits are not just saving a life but also a connection," said Andy Jones, the Director of the Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention.

The kits are part of a larger project called Project HOPE. The goal is to train more Alaska residents to properly inject Naloxone into a suspected opioid overdose victim. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can treat an overdose victim in an emergency situation. However, the drug is only able to fight off the overdose effects for around 40 minutes.

At an event about the state's crime rate and opioid problem that contributes to it, Jones showed the small kit that comes with two doses of the drug Naloxone, gloves, and a brochure on how to give administer the drug to someone.

Ever since the state's opioid problems were declared a disaster, the state has built 13,000 Narcan kits, distributed 11,000, and saved 141 Alaskan lives. Jones said that many people might know someone who is at risk of an opioid overdose but might be too scared or ashamed to carry the kit with them should something bad happen.

"A mom, a dad, a loved one, if they want to still carry this they can take this sticker off but if that stigma, that uncomfortableness is still there then they can carry this anywhere they go," said Jones.

While there's no doubt the kits can save lives Jones said that simply making these kits available won't solve the problem.

"Naloxone, or Narcan, is just a tourniquet. It's not the silver bullet so with this tourniquet it's still vital to get an individual a higher level of care. But it gives a chance to allow an Alaskan to have a second, sometimes third, or fourth chance as they get into treatment," said Jones.

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