What is Narcan? Could it fix the country's opioid epidemic?

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Narcan: It's a term that's been making headlines over the past few weeks, months and even years. In some states, you can even buy the medicine directly from a pharmacist, without a doctor's prescription.

But what exactly is it? And what does it do?

For starters, Narcan is a brand name for an opioid overdose antidote called naloxone. And naloxone is the medicine that can completely or partially reverse an opioid overdose, even if someone has reached the point of having severe breathing problems. Learn more about it here.

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We thought we'd start here: With Narcan. Some say that the drug is our answer to the opioid crisis. Meanwhile, critics contend that using and providing naloxone regularly is facilitating the dysfunction and addiction. It boils down to a philosophical argument, one doctor said.

In our report, we go over the following questions:

  • How does the medicine work?
  • How is it administered?
  • Who can buy it?
  • How many doses can be used?
  • Are there side effects?
  • Is naloxone too good to be true?


Read more:

Bexar County deputies save man's life using opioid overdose reversing drug for first time | Surgeon general urges more Americans to carry opioid antidote

People intentionally OD to be revived at 'Narcan parties'Step-by-step instructions on how to administer Narcan

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