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Orange County to offer Narcan to combat overdoses

Posted October 23, 2013
Updated October 24, 2013

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— Officials with the Orange County Health Department said Wednesday that the agency will become the first in the state to issue a standing order for Narcan, a life-saving drug that reverses overdoses from heroin, hydrocodone and other opiates.

The standing order for Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, will take effect in December. Under the new policy, medical providers at the health department will screen patients to determine if they or someone they know uses opiates. If so, the provider will discuss the safe use of opiates, train them to administer Narcan and provide access to the medication.

Officials said the standing order is aimed at reducing the number of deaths from opiate overdoses. According to state statistics, deaths from overdoses in North Carolina have increased 300 percent since 1999.

“We know that screening patients and increasing access to naloxone is an effective and inexpensive way to save lives, and we hope it will help people get connected to additional resources to help themselves or people they know,” Orange County Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger said in a statement.

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law this year allowing doctors to prescribe Narcan by standing order and for a person who is prescribed Narcan to administer it to someone who is experiencing an overdose. Under the law, a doctor can prescribe the medication to anyone at risk of opiate overdose, as well as that person’s family and friends.


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  • arianakatz Oct 28, 2013

    I think it is great that Orange County Health Department is going to be issuing a standing order. Studies show that Narcan does not increase a persons use of opiates nor take the place of rehab for those who want it. Narcan saves lives, simple as that. It is not up to me or you to determine the value of that person's life just because they use drugs. I applaud Orange Country for leading the way to reducing unnecessary deaths.

  • natalierich1 Oct 28, 2013

    Narcan is a medication that has been used by paramedics to reverse overdose for decades. Why shouldn't we make this medication more available? Is it better to let someone die when there is a drug like Narcan that can save them? I wouldn't abandon a man in a deadly car accident if I saw that he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, even though I recognize that his personal choice may have put him that situation. I wouldn't let him die. And I don't think a drug addict should be left to die either, even if his personal choice put him in that situation. People deserve a second chance at life.

  • cynda-ur-way Oct 24, 2013

    Narcan will not encourage opiate use in any way. If you have ever had Narcan administered it is one of the most horrible feelings you will never forget. Lets just say within a minute you go into full withdrawal. Fever,chills,nausea,diarrhea; all at one time. The only upside is it can save your life.

  • DNCMom Oct 23, 2013

    Whatever happened to rehab where they are taught not to use the drug?! Looks like narcan would encourage using heroin. This is just backwards to me.

  • Gabby01 Oct 23, 2013

    They will use even more opiates now because they have the Narcan.

  • tommys5 Oct 23, 2013

    "naloxone is an effective and inexpensive way to save lives"
    Liberal agenda = No personal responsibility

  • scubagirl2 Oct 23, 2013

    so they will be sending narcan home w/ folks after teaching them to administer it? That's what I read....

  • NoObamaCare Oct 23, 2013

    Paramedics have been using Narcan for years!

  • Obamacare is here Oct 23, 2013

    I'm sure it'll get plenty of use here.