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TCU 360

TCU alumni connect with each other at Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. on Friday Oct. 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tristen Smith)
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Narcan becomes more accessible to treat opioid overdose

Now sold over-the-counter, this drug can save lives.
A container of Narcan, a brand name version of the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone, sits on a table following a demonstration at the Health and Human Services Humphrey Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Narcan, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, is now available without a prescription at retail pharmacies.

Rosalind Pichardo, the founder of the Philadelphia organization Operation Save Our City, holds a container of Narcan as she demonstrates how to administer naloxone at the HHS Humphrey Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) (AP)

The drug has been key in combating the effects of the opioid epidemic that is responsible for more than 100,000 overdose deaths within the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Narcan is considered the opioid antagonist in the field,” said Fabiola Valcin-Lewis, a neonatal nurse, studying to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing.

The opioid crisis has been a public health issue since the end of the 20th century. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.

The CDC defines the opioid epidemic in three waves.

The epidemic began when people became addicted to painkillers after doctors began overprescribing opioids in the 1990s.

The second wave of the epidemic included more reported cases that involved heroin.

The third wave of the epidemic has been marked by a high number of people overdosing on fentanyl.

Five Texans die every day due to fentanyl poisoning, according to the Texas Health and Human Services.

Lewis said she has witnessed people who have overdosed on fentanyl and heroin being revived when treated with Narcan, which is being sold as a nasal spray for about $45 for a single dose.

“It’s definitely more beneficial to the public than harmful,” said Lewis.

Lewis said it’s important for college students to learn about Narcan and how to use it.

Ciera Brooks, a TCU senior nursing major said, “We’ve been taught that Narcan can completely reverse an overdose and that it is the number one drug in doing so.”

Brooks said she hopes that educators will start to raise more awareness of the fact that it is now sold in pharmacies and is highly important.

The Substance Use & Recovery Services at TCU will be having Narcan training sessions to teach students how to prevent overdose and educate students on the importance of Narcan.

The education sessions are scheduled for Oct. 26 and Dec.7 in Jarvis Hall, room 204.

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