Naloxone: Facts and Myths

Naloxone is a medication that can be used to reverse the symptoms of opiates. As a result it has become an important tool within rehab centers when treating patients that are addicted to opioids. At the same time, there are a number of myths which are associated with this substance, and when it comes to drugs, addiction and treatment it is important to separate myths from facts, as lives depend on it.

Naloxone has been used since the 1960s, especially among emergency responders. Some police officers carry it with them today, so that they can have it on hand during emergencies which are life threatening. Physicians use it as an antidote for overdosing, and it is commonly used in rehab centers for patients who are addicted to heroin.

Common Myths Related to Naloxone

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that as many as 10,000 people have been saved from overdose due to the consumption of naloxone. Despite this, there are some myths associated with its use that must be dispelled.

Myth: It Discourages Addicts From Getting Treated

There is no hard evidence which indicates that naloxone discourages an addict from getting the treatment they need. The opposite appears to be true: addicts who are saved from overdose through the consumption of naloxone are more likely to get help due to their close call with death.

Myth: It Merely Replaces The Drugs The Addict Has Been Abusing

This is another common misconception that is associated with this substance, that because naloxone is a drug addicts who take it to overcome opiate abuse will become addicted to it. While any medication is subject to abuse if not used properly, naloxone reduces appetite for opiates. The reason for this is because after it is administered it will shut down the effects of the opiates and the addict will begin to go through withdrawal. As long as naloxone is administered by a professional in a safe environment, the drug will work as intended.

Myth: The Substance Is Costly To Procure

The cost for naloxone will depend on how and where it is purchased. Many insurance companies provide coverage for it, and even if no coverage is available, naloxone is reasonably priced in comparison to many prescription drugs. Additionally, there may be a number of outreach programs in your community that can provide naloxone free of charge.

Myth: It Must Be Administered Through A Syringe

Many people aren’t thrilled about the idea of receiving an injection via needle. A myth has begun circulating that naloxone requires this method of delivery, and this is likely due to the fact that heroin, which naloxone is used to treat, it usually injected by needle. However, naloxone can be administered in multiple ways. It can be taken via an intranasal spray, or an auto injector which provides the drug painlessly. Injecting naloxone by needle provides the benefit of taking effect much faster than the other delivery methods, which is why it may be recommended under some circumstances. Naloxone is a tool, and like any tool, the manner in which it is used will determine its effectiveness.