PA community college prepares to treat opioid misuse with Narcan

Marissa Wiesenbach, North Campus Editor

Delaware County Community College – located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – is taking action against the opioid crisis by making Narcan Nasal Spray, an opioid reversal medicine, readily available to the public on their campuses.

According to the Delaware County Daily Times, the two-year community college now includes Narcan in their automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinets on their campuses, enabling anyone who is nearby an overdose victim to potentially save their life.

Delaware County Community College partnered with the local Heroin Task Force to bring Narcan to their campuses.

District Attorney Katayoun Copeland and Chief Joseph Ryan of the District Attorney’s Office joined Dr. L. Joy Gates Black, president of Delaware County Community College, to announce this partnership between the Heroin Task Force and Delaware Community College in March.

The Delaware County Daily Times states that Narcan Nasal Spray was provided to the community college with grant funding from the Heroin Task Force and the District Attorney’s Office.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a medication that is easily administered through the nostril that quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

During a possible opioid overdose, Narcan Nasal Spray is used when an individual shows signs of breathing problems and severe sleepiness or is not able to respond.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, naloxone is a medication that can help rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. When given during a medical emergency, it binds to receptors in the body and can reverse and block the effects of opioid medications.

When administered appropriately, Narcan Nasal Spray can quickly restore normal respirations in an individual whose breathing has slowed or stopped due to overdosing on heroin or other opioid medications.

Narcan has no side effects when administered to someone who is not suffering from an opioid overdose.

Although Narcan Nasal Spray can help during an opioid emergency, it does not take the place of emergency medical care.

In the event of overdose, individuals should get emergency medical help right away. Although the person who has overdosed may wake up after one dose of Narcan Nasal Spray, their symptoms may return, and repeat doses may need to be given.

The Narcan kits used in AED cabinets at Delaware County Community College are manufactured by Adapt Pharmaceutical, and each kit includes two 4-mg doses with step-by-step instructions to assist anyone in administering the nasal spray during an emergency.

According to the Delaware County Daily Times, Delaware County Community College is the first college in the area to provide Narcan to the public with help from the Heroin Task Force.

As Narcan was brought to this community college, members of the Heroin Task Force trained citizens on how to use Narcan in the event of an opioid overdose.

In the coming months, the Heroin Task Force plans to partner with more communities across Delaware County to provide free Narcan kits and overdose response training to community partners and to those who work in recovery.

With their efforts, the Heroin Task Force is taking a holistic approach to the opioid epidemic, enabling bystanders to save a life during an overdose emergency.

In recent years, the use and misuse of opioid medications and heroin have escalated to crisis levels throughout the American population.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, deaths from drug overdose now outnumber those caused by car accidents, with an average of 110 overdose deaths per day and more than half of those involving opioids.

Opioids are a class of drugs prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, and they can have serious risks and side effects.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, examples of opioid drugs include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available by prescription, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine.