Twiford: I started carrying Narcan and you should too

Twiford's Narcan package with instructions beside it. - Managing Editor / Abigail Twiford

Naloxone, the generic for the drug Narcan, which can reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids, recently became available for free in New Jersey, no questions asked. 

I’ve wanted to carry the spray for a while now, just in case I ever come across someone experiencing an overdose, but it’s too expensive without the new program from the state. So as soon as I was able to, I took full advantage of it. 

After one flubbed attempt at acquiring the spray, where I went to the usual pharmacy that made me put in my insurance info and wanted to charge for it, I managed to find a participating pharmacy in my town, called to confirm they still had stock and went in to pick it up.  

From there, the process was easy, just telling the pharmacists what I was there for and having them quickly process it for me, give me an instructional sheet, and send me on my way. 

Considering how easy of a process it was to obtain the Naloxone, I think everyone, but especially college students, should be carrying it on them, or at least keep it in their own homes. 

The bottles are small, in individual packaging, and can be stored at room temperature or in a refrigerator. They are not overly cumbersome to have in your bag or in your car during more temperament days of the spring and fall, though they can’t be overheated or frozen. Generally, they’re not a burden. 

I am not struggling with addiction to opioids and neither is anyone close to me, at least that I know of. 

And that’s the point. You never know who is struggling with addiction. It could be your best friend, your classmate, a coworker, or some random person at a party or club meeting you decide to attend. So why wouldn’t you want to be prepared in case someone around you overdoses?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 12% of US college students have used opioids outside of medical use within their whole college career, with 7% misusing within the last year. While this misuse does not necessarily have a direct correlation with addiction, this level of misuse means that most college students probably know someone who is at least at risk of developing an addiction. Having Narcan on hand is important for such instances. 

Narcan can also help in cases where a person unknowingly takes a lethal dose of fentanyl, as the drug is cheap and is commonly mixed into cocaine, heroin, and pills that are virtually indistinguishable from prescription opioids. While heroin use among college students is relatively low, only about 0.4%, cocaine is not as hard to find, with 6.4% of college students admitting to using cocaine within the past year. 

With how easy it is to lace fentanyl into these more expensive drugs, anyone who decides to experiment with easily obtained party drugs could be risking their life, which is just not how it should be. 

I am around campus a lot. I report on events across campus for The Whit, I have classes four days a week, and I hang out with friends in the area very frequently too. I don’t go to a huge number of parties, but being in public for so much of my day, I think it’s the smart and responsible thing to do to have Narcan with me, the same way I carry around hand sanitizer, band-aids, and pepper spray, I just like to be prepared. 

If you’re like me, around the general population frequently, or if you throw parties yourself, you should have Narcan on hand, whether in your house or on your person. 

I hope I never use the Narcan I am now carrying with me, but I feel a lot better about being ready in case I have to.

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