Learn to Use Narcan and Save a Life


Jade Wood, Staff Writer

   “Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise with 70,601 overdose deaths reported in 2021,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Currently, many illegal substances and fake prescription drugs are being laced with drugs ten times more harmful than what the user may be expecting. In fact, large quantities of drugs are being laced with fentanyl by drug dealers and cartels every day. Hundreds of thousands of people overdose on drugs per year, yet many have been saved because of Narcan, an opioid overdose treatment (nida.nih.gov).

Narcan refers to one brand of the product that provides the four milligram dose of naloxone hydrochloride contained in a nasal spray bottle, which is inserted into the nose of someone experiencing overdose, as per the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. Narcan works to reverse the effects of an overdose — allowing the person in danger to resume breathing. Narcan usually takes two to three minutes to proveeffective. If the person who has overdosed does not resume consciousness after two minutes, they must be administered a second dose, continuing the process at this rate until paramedics arrive (aahealth.org).

In recent efforts to create a safer community, every staff member at UC High was offered a training on fentanyl by a representative from SAY San Diego, Senior Prevention Specialist William Perno, and was offered one or more boxes of Narcan nasal spray in hopes to have the potential ability to save a life. While it may seem hard to come by, Narcan is easily accessible. According to Perno, laced pills are often purchased through social media apps and there is an ever- growing problem of laced drugs being distributed among high school students. Many people who overdose on fentanyl do not even know they are taking it. It could be laced in with other drugs or contained in fake pills. A very small dose can kill. Having Narcan on hand could save a lifee.. According to a Community Anti-drug Coalitions of America (CAdCA) Narcan report, “Nearly 27,000 lives have been saved as a result of Narcan kits given to friends and family to reverse opioid overdoses” (cadca.org). Sophomore Vanna Nguyen is in complete favor of the use of Narcan, and stresses its significance. Nguyen emphasized “…the importance of understanding and learning how to use Narcan.”

   For those who wish to have Narcan on hand in case of an emergency, some available options are purchasing at a nearby pharmacy or contacting a doctor. To combat opioid overdoses, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) created a naloxone distribution project in which they distribute it for free (cdph.ca.gov).

Most people think they will never encounter fentanyl, and certainly never overdose. However, with today’s technology in drug manufacturing, it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between a laced and unlaced pill. Using Narcan is simple and accessible, and lives can be saved. The goal is to save as many lives as possible, and anyone can make a difference.