How Long Does Narcan Last?
Understanding Narcan in Your System and Choosing Treatment
I am one of the many addicts whose life has been saved by Narcan nasal spray. My opioid addiction led me to multiple overdoses, and luckily I had Narcan on hand and somebody who could administer it. Narcan has saved countless lives, but it can also be seen as an enabler for opioid drugs by many addicts.
If you are wondering: How long does Narcan last, it can be for several reasons. For me, it was always the desire (let’s keep it real and call it the need) to get high again driving that question.
When I got to Icarus Behavioral Health Nevada, I had just overdosed for the third time and had been given Naloxone (aka: Narcan) by the paramedics who arrived to revive me. I started to have the mindset that if I relapsed and overdosed again, at least I would have Narcan to rely on.
Keep reading to hear more about my story, and get answers about how long does Narcan stay in your system, as well as treatment options at Icarus in Nevada if you are sick of dancing with death and want to get help!
Who Will Administer Naloxone?
When I spoke about my attitude towards Narcan in group therapy, I quickly learned that this was not the mindset I should have. The looks I got from the councilors told me their thoughts, even if their words were compassionate and kind.
If learned that if I really wanted to make this ‘getting clean thing’ work, I would have to put all my energy and thoughts into recovery. The idea of having something like Narcan to fall back on is problematic, as was my daily life of getting high and ignoring the consequences. The staff at Icarus in Nevada and even other clients that came in with me, brought up a good point.
What if I overdose again and there isn’t anyone there to administer it? Narcan has become more available to opiate users, but a lot of addicts don’t always have it on hand. Paramedics have it, but what if they are too late in arriving? To learn more about Narcan and how my thinking became more clear, continue reading and I’ll explain how it can be a lifesaver, but also an enabler.
Becoming Addicted To Prescription Opioids
I began my drug abuse at a young age, and I was addicted to prescription opioids by the time I was in high school. My mother had a prescription for Percocet, and I would occasionally steal pills from her. Eventually, she discovered that I was doing this, and sent me to rehab. I didn’t want to get clean, so rehab didn’t work.
I began buying Percocet illegally and by the time I graduated, I was taking multiple pills a day. This habit began to get very expensive as my tolerance grew. Opioid addictions are tricky because once you build a tolerance, you may need to spend more and more money just to get high one time. Even though Percocet is a potent opioid, I needed to up my dose all the time.
By the time I turned to heroin, I was easily snorting 5 or 6 ‘Oxy 80’s’ each day. It took at least one to get me up in the morning, and then more to keep me from feeling sick as the day went on. Most younger people won’t remember how expensive these pills were, but when I found out how cheap dope was, it was almost a relief.
That was how sick my thinking got, and something I remember to this day is that being addicted to opiates really does completely change your brain and how it views reality.
Opioid Overdoses: The Frightening Reality
Overdosing on opioids is very common the longer you are addicted to them. As the opioid epidemic grows, overdose deaths have risen dramatically. Opioids affect the part of the brain that regulates breathing, so an opioid overdose can cause breathing difficulties.
The first time I overdosed, I was given Narcan nasal spray by paramedics and came out of it immediately. It blocks the opioid receptors in your brain and has helped, to some extent, reduce what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has called one of the leading crises of our time, the epidemic of preventable deaths from fentanyl and synthetic opioids.
Narcan can immediately reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. You will pop out of it immediately and not have any idea what just happened. I had one friend who overdosed twice in one night, and the first responders and paramedics had to come back and re-administer Narcan. This is how powerful opiate and opioid addiction is. You will overdose and then go right back for more.
How Long Does Narcan Last as an Opioid Antagonist
How long does Narcan last? Narcan usually stays in your system for up to 90 minutes. A lot of opioids may remain in the body for longer than that, so you will potentially still feel the side effects of opioids from an overdose even after Narcan is administered. The way Narcan works is because it blocks the brain’s intake of opioids. Because of this, it is referred to as an opioid antagonist.
Narcan is commonly available under the brand name generic naloxone now. It is most often available as a nasal spray. One dose of naloxone nasal spray up the nose is often all it takes to reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is FDA approved and most paramedics carry it.
Getting Naloxone Without a Prescription
Currently, you can buy naloxone everywhere in the United States without a prescription. The FDA and other groups recognize how important it is for addicts to have access to it. Administering naloxone is quite straightforward, especially as a nasal spray. If you aren’t a paramedic or have any no medical training, you should still call 911 if you are around someone who has overdosed.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, not an opioid. Since it is legal to buy, you will not get in trouble for having it. Unfortunately, many addicts aren’t in a position to have naloxone around all the time. When I was in the middle of my opioid dependence, all my money and energy went to opiates. Making sure I had Narcan around wasn’t a priority.
Using Naloxone Narcan During An Opioid Overdose
If you are around someone who has overdosed, call 911 immediately before anything else. To administer Narcan, simply pull it from the package and spray it up the person’s nose. If the person does not recover within two minutes, re-administer it.
Once they come out to block the effects of their overdose, it’s important to roll them into a ‘recovery position’. Lay them on their side with their knee propped up so that they don’t roll over onto their stomach. Narcan also comes in the form of injectable naloxone, but the nasal spray is much easier to administer.
What are the Signs Of An Opioid Overdose?
It’s not that difficult to notice the effects of an opioid overdose. A person will become unconscious, and they may stop breathing. Other side effects of an opioid overdose include pinpoint pupils. If you do not have naloxone, rescue breathing is recommended. You and your family members should also stay until help arrives in order to assist rescue personnel.
Being around someone who is overdosing is scary. I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been the one overdosing, and I’ve also witnessed friends and fellow addicts overdose. A lot of overdose deaths occur because people are worried about getting in trouble, so they don’t call for help. So many of these deaths could be avoided.
The Right Treatment Program for an Opioid Addict Like Me
Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada has a great opioid and opiate detox program for those struggling with opioid abuse. They did a great job of helping me deal with withdrawal symptoms from my opioid use disorder, as well as helping me to finally address my mental illness. I learned a lot about Narcan and how we as a society view it.
There are some people who think it shouldn’t be available because it gives people an excuse to continue using illicit drugs. This is an interesting topic to debate. Yes, Narcan has saved lives and is an incredible development in the field of medicine. On the other hand, you don’t want to look at it as a reason for you to continue to abuse opioids.
Either way, I chose to view it, for me the reality was clear. If I didn’t at least choose to try and get clean, it was very likely I would die from an overdose.
In your heart, if you use opioids every day, you will know the same truth. But if I can get clean, you can too. Reach out for help and get options, I know I am glad I gave Icarus a call, even if I didn’t have much belief in myself at the time. Their caring lent me enough hope to get through early recovery, and I will forever be grateful to them.
Avoiding Opioid Overdose Deaths
Heroin and fentanyl addicts are going to experience drug overdoses, and it’s very important for Narcan to be readily available. On the other hand, it is a last resort. It is a ‘in case of emergency break glass’ kind of thing. You might not always have it, or have someone on hand to administer it.
Medical care isn’t always a sure thing, either. You don’t want to rely on others to have to save your life, especially if you have overdosed before. Getting clean is going to be your best bet. Take it from someone who has overdosed multiple times before.
From Multiple Opioid Overdoses To a Life in Recovery
When a person overdoses, it’s up to them whether or not they want to use that for something positive. Even though I overdosed multiple times on opiates, I always knew with each one that I was getting closer to death. I knew that one more fix could be the thing that killed me. Because I almost died during my last overdose, I knew I needed to get clean.
Narcan works wonders, but so does recovery. That is the lesson that I learned at Icarus Behavioral Health in Las Vegas. There may not always be emergency medical help when you overdose. There are a lot of reasons to get clean and a lot of reasons to put all of your effort into sobriety. Naloxone works, but it is a temporary and emergency measure.
Recovery is much more permanent and long-lasting and can lead to a whole new life if you are willing to give it your all.
Get Life Saving Options with the Programs at Icarus Nevada
Take it from me: an opioid overdose can be the change that someone needs. I’ve met a lot of people in recovery who got clean following an overdose. When you are faced with your own mortality, it can knock something loose inside you. It can be the one thing that makes you want to change your life. It’s the best change you could ever make.
Even if you are not fully convinced, why not get options for recovery and a life free from the cycles of dope sickness and overdose? Make the confidential call today and discuss your situation with their caring staff. It only takes a few minutes and can literally be life-saving, so give yourself a break and reach out now!