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doctors who overprescribeNaloxone, a drug that has been traditionally used by emergency medical professionals to treat individuals who have overdosed on opiates, is now available by prescription in the state of Kentucky. Public health activists who support the signing of the bill that allows for naloxone, also known as Narcan, to be distributed by pharmacists hope that the availability of this treatment will result in lives being saved.

Is this an effective choice? Will it help opiate addicts get the life-saving care they need to overcome an overdose and live to seek the treatment they need to change their lives?

Opioid Overdose Types That Naloxone May Reverse

Naloxone can treat the collapse of the nervous system, which occurs when an opiate user’s system is overwhelmed by the amount of opiate drugs in their system. Use of naloxone can be effective in the treatment of overdose upon:

  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone
  • Meperidine
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Fentanyl

Signs of Opioid Overdose

Opioid overdose can create lasting damage to the central nervous system resulting in long-term disability or death. Listed below are some of the signs that may be present in an overdose. Do not hesitate to call for help as soon as ANY of these symptoms are present.

  • May have blue lips
  • May have blue fingernails
  • May be awake but not able to communicate
  • May be vomiting
  • May have skin turn grayish or bluish color
  • Choking or rattling sounds
  • May become unconscious
  • May use very aggressive language
  • May be extremely agitated

How to Assist a Loved One With Opioid Addiction

Addiction is an insidious medical disease. Its victims usually believe that they don’t need treatment or say they don’t want to get well, a unique characteristic of this illness as compared to other chronic health problems. The good news is that there are a myriad of “ramps” available to assist the addict off the addiction highway and toward a better life. These come in many forms, and family members of an addicted person are encouraged to help their addicted loved one:

  • Find a great treatment team. A great treatment team will be located at a rehabilitation facility or treatment center that is passionate about saving lives and creating lasting change.
  • Join a support group. It is helpful to have people who understand the challenges and are able to hold each other accountable and drug-free.
  • Sort out the “fake” friends. Remove from your or your loved one’s life those people who are there only to encourage negative behavior or to profit from it.
  • Fill the empty space. It is likely that if you remove the negative people from your or your loved one’s life that you will have empty space. Fill this empty space in your life with positive people who support the goal of recovery and health. Choose people you admire for their character, honesty, strength, and responsibility.

If you are, or someone you love is, in a struggle with addiction, call the number listed above and an admissions coordinator will be there to assist you in finding a great treatment team to help jumpstart the healing process.