You can help reverse the overdose epidemic

From Vox.

The case for why we should all be carrying naloxone.

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The fatal overdose epidemic in the US, which began in the 90s with increased overdoses on prescription opioids, finally looked like it was starting to take a turn in 2018. But then the covid pandemic hit, and amid increased isolation during lockdowns, fatal drug overdoses in the US skyrocketed, crossing 100,000 fatalities in a single year for the first time in 2021.

The main drivers of fatal overdoses over the last ten years are synthetic opioids, like fentanyl. Fentanyl is a highly potent narcotic that often gets mixed into the American drug supply to make drugs – ranging from heroin, to cocaine, to adderall – stronger and more addictive. The result is that huge numbers of people unknowingly consume a lethal dose of fentanyl laced into other drugs.

America’s “War on Drugs” and punitive approach to curbing drug use hasn’t solved this. So now American communities are turning to methods that emphasize “harm reduction” – creating environments for people with substance use disorder to find support, rather than punishment.

A big part of that is the distribution of the drug naloxone, also known as Narcan. Naloxone is an opioid-antagonist, and can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose as it’s happening. It does this by blocking opioid receptors in the brain.

Naloxone has been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives so far according to the CDC, and is a tool for fighting the ongoing overdose epidemic that some medical experts are now urging all Americans to have on hand.

Find harm reduction resources near you (US only):
National Harm Reduction Coalition’s Naloxone Finder:

Free harm reduction supplies by mail from non-profit NEXT Distro:

Sources and further reading:
The American Medical Association’s Overdose Epidemic Report for 2023:

Latest drug overdose death rate data from National Institutes of Health:

CDC guidance on overdose prevention:

Struggling with substance use disorder? SAMHSA’s national helpline:

Note: The title of this video has been updated
Previous title: Why you should carry Narcan

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