Opioids like heroin affect the part of the brain that regulates breathing. An overdose depresses respiration to dangerous levels. Minutes, and even seconds, count in treating an overdose.
That’s why the U.S. Surgeon General is advocating greater awareness of the opioid antidote Naloxone, sold under its brand name, Narcan, which can counteract the effects of an overdose almost immediately.
Dr. Jerome Adams visited Kenai last week and sang the praises of Project Hope, a state program that provides Narcan kits to the public.
“First responders can’t typically get there in the four minutes it takes to get a hypoxic brain injury,” Adams said. “So if we want to turn around this opioid epidemic, if we want to avoid losing a generation, we need more people willing to carry naloxone with them, keep it in their homes. Because anyone can find themselves in the position to be first a responder.”