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Drug to Counter Heroin Overdose Available to Public [AUDIO]

A drug that can reverse a heroin overdose is closer to being in the hands of Ocean County police officers, but law enforcement won’t be the only ones with access to it.

(Caption: Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

Narcan is already available by prescription as a nasal spray, for families who wish to have it on hand as a precaution.

“So if somebody out there has a family member who has a narcotic problem and they want to get this, they can get this today,” said Dr. Kenneth Lavelle, medical director of Pennsylvania-based Emergency Training & Consulting.

However, Lavelle said one of the problems they face is that many local pharmacies don’t carry the prescription.

“It’s typically only been used for public safety agencies,” Lavelle said. “I can tell you we’re trying to change that and have more pharmacies carry this medication in the form necessary to them.”

(Credit: Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

Narcan has almost no side effects, according to Lavelle, and wouldn’t endanger anyone who took it accidentally — even a child.

“There’s virtually no side effects from this medication from a patient who hasn’t used narcotics at all,” Lavelle said. “There are immensely more things in that medicine cabinet or under the sink that are much more harm.”

While Narcan can help save the life of someone who is overdosing on opiates like heroin or painkillers, Lavelle said it’s not a magic pill and not the best solution in all cases.

“It’s not that they’re going to hurt the patient or person, however, if they use this medication when they should be doing something else, it could delay better care,” Lavelle said.

In instances of cardiac arrest or blocked airways, police would not administer Narcan.

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