When you hear about the opiate epidemic in the United States it can seem far away. However, a report in 2014 ranked Louisiana as number 11 in overdose rates. In 2013 alone “15 out of every 100,000 persons in Louisiana died due to accidental overdose”.   For some Louisiana residents, this may come as a surprise.

“We actually had one of the highest rates of opioid overdoes in the south,” said Dr. SreyRam Kuy, the Louisiana Department of Health chief medical officer for Medicaid. “Higher than Texas, higher than Alabama, higher than Mississippi.”

Louisiana’s Project Director in the Office of Drug Policy noted that 2016 has seen an increase in the use of Narcan with 486 doses administered by EMS during the time period of Jan 2016 to Oct 2016 as compare to 260 doses administered during that same time period in 2013.

Whether you were aware of the heroin epidemic sweeping not only Louisiana but the rest of the nation, there is help. All Walgreens stores in Louisiana now offer Naloxone over the counter. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist which simply means it will stop an opiate overdose to save an overdose victim’s life. All 150 Walgreens locations throughout the state offer it over the counter with no prescription required under the brand name Narcan.  Also the Naloxone is covered by most insurance, including Medicaid.

While this is great news, it should be understood that once someone is administered Narcon, is vital the following two things happen:

1. The person is taken to a hospital to be examined as there may be side effects.

  1. The person is put into treatment that will allow them to address their opiate addiction in order to prevent a second overdose by assisting them to get sober.

The above two items are crucial since someone who is using will not likely be deterred from continuing to use by an overdose.

Please visit our Naloxone availability page for information on legality in other states. Call us now if someone you know is using opiates.

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