Heroin Overdose Antidote Naloxone (Narcan) Available Over the Counter in Dallas and Fort Worth
Heroin overdoses kill people. Ditto, other opioids – like fentanyl. In fact, it’s much easier to OD on fentanyl than heroin. Why? Fentanyl is extremely powerful; more so than heroin. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Here in North Texas, combining heroin with synthetic opioid fentanyl is popular. Fentanyl-heroin blends are sold here as Dance Fever, Jackpot, TNT, and China White.
For details, check out our post, “Fentanyl And Heroin Here In Dallas: Dangers Of Arrest And More.”
Antidote to Overdoses on Heroin or Fentanyl: Naloxone (Narcan)
It’s no secret that there is an easy way to help someone who has OD’d on heroin or fentanyl. There is a drug called “naloxone” that can prevent an opioid overdose from killing someone.
It’s also called Narcan. It is available in two forms:
- a liquid that is injected into the blood stream (sold in a vial or in a pre-loaded syringe);
- a nasal spray .
Here’s a video from the drug manufacturer that explains not only (1) how to use the Narcan nasal spray, but (2) how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and (3) how to help the person until they can get professional medical care and treatment.
Narcan Isn’t Enough – Medical Care Is Still a Must
Now, this isn’t a magic potion. What naloxone does is slow things down in the human body. Specifically, naloxone blocks the ability of the opioid to access the brain for a limited time.
During this time period, which is only 60 to 90 minutes, the brain isn’t impacted by the opioid. This break prevents the respiratory system from slowing down to the point where the person stops breathing. By that time, hopefully doctors are treating the person for overdosing.
Bottom line: this antidote is not a “fix it.” It’s a stop gap measure to give enough time to get medical help.
Texas Law for Public Access to Antidote for Opioid Overdose
Last year, the Texas Legislature recognized the growing danger of opioid addiction and overdose with the passage of SB 1462. This law allows people to get access to antidotes for overdoses.
The Texas law follows along with legislation that is being passed in states across the country to deal with the rising epidemic of heroin and synthetic opioid abuse. It also coincides with the 2015 Federal Emergency Health Advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Two years ago, the CDC warned of a national crisis involving people taking heroin or fentanyl and fatally overdosing. This isn’t a problem that has been solved.
2017: Heroin Antidote Available OTC in North Texas Stores
At first, the only way to get the heroin OD antidote or the fentanyl OD antidote was with a doctor’s prescription. Now, things are different.
Narcan is available over the counter to the public in Texas. Just like antacids or aspirin or cough drops.
Starting last summer, stores here in Texas were offering naloxone over the counter. Walgreens Pharmacies began this public service back in June 2016. So did CVS.
February 2017: Kroger Offers Narcan Nasal Spray in Dallas – Fort Worth Area
Kroger Pharmacies announced Kroger would be offering the Narcan Nasal Spray over the counter in their North Texas stores last week. (Kroger has over 100 pharmacies in Dallas, Fort Worth, and the surrounding North Texas area.)
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2,600 Texans died of a drug overdose in 2015,” said Dana Zurcher, president of the Kroger Dallas division. “Kroger wants to be a part of the solution to decrease these staggering statistics. By adding naloxone to our daily portfolio of healthcare products and services, our pharmacists have the opportunity to help save lives.”
Getting Narcan at the Store: Can You Get Arrested?
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) calls Narcan (naloxone) a “rescue drug.” That’s a good name for it.
Because using Narcan is a rescue. Narcan is there to help you save someone’s life when they have, or you suspect they have, overdosed on an opioid. If you don’t act fact, they could die because the heroin or fentanyl will slow their system down to the point that it shuts off. Permanently.
So, it’s a good thing to know about Narcan and where to get it, right? Sure.
But for many, there is a concern that they might be in danger of being arrested if they go to the local drug store or grocery chain to buy Narcan. That’s understandable.
Can you be arrested if you go get Narcan at the store or if you are found using it to help someone? No.
Good Samaritan Laws
In Texas, as well as a number of other states, there are special laws on the books that protect someone who is trying to help the victim of an overdose.
These are called “Good Samaritan Laws.” They give the person who is trying to help immunity from prosecution. Each state does things a little differently.
In Texas, Sections 483.105 and 483.106 of the Texas Health and Safety Code now provide the following:
- Any person may possess an opioid antagonist, regardless of whether the person holds a prescription for the opioid antagonist.
- A person who, acting in good faith and with reasonable care, administers or does not administer an opioid antagonist to another person whom the person believes is suffering an opioid-related drug overdose is not subject to criminal prosecution, sanction under any professional licensing statute, or civil liability, for an act or omission resulting from the administration of or failure to administer the opioid antagonist.
- Emergency services personnel are authorized to administer an opioid antagonist to a person who appears to be suffering an opioid-related drug overdose, as clinically indicated.
However, this law is specific to the rescue drug. It isn’t going to protect you from arrest if you are in possession of an illegal substance. It’s not going to protect you if you are suspected of violating any other criminal laws, either. It is immunity solely for using (or failing to use) the rescue drug naloxone.
- 5 Things To Know About Heroin Arrests If You’re Using Heroin in Dallas
- Fentanyl and Heroin Here in Dallas: Dangers of Arrest and More
- Heroin in Dallas: 5 Things About Dallas’ Heroin Market from the New DEA Report
- Heroin Arrests in Dallas and North Texas: Billboards, Big Brother, and Civil Rights in Heroin Cases
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