Life-saving overdose medication can now be given out without prescription
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - We’ve all heard amazing accounts of first responders reversing a drug overdose with a single dose of Narcan. Now, the Mississippi State Department of Health wants to get this life-saving medication into the hands of anyone who needs it.
We spoke with one woman who used the medication in the past who says it’s the reason she’s still here today.
Amber Leuenberger is a survivor, approaching six years sober after years of struggling to overcome trauma in her life.
“I started out with alcohol,” she said. “It led to cocaine, meth and eventually opiates.”
After a day’s binge of heroin, fentanyl and Xanax, she locked herself in the bathroom while her teenage daughter was knocking on the door, panicking that something was wrong when her mom didn’t answer back.
“They eventually had to come break the door down and intubate me in front of her, do CPR,” said Leuenberger. “They thought I was dead, she said I was blue. The next thing I know, I wake up on a ventilator. They had to do CPR. They thought I was dead.”
Narcan or Kloxxado are brand names for naloxone. It’s the only antidote to opioid poisoning or an overdose from opioids including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications.
Amber isn’t the only survivor living to tell how this antidote brought her back from the brink of death. Since 2017, AMR paramedics have used naloxone 30% more often when responding to calls.
“We use this routinely throughout the day,” said AMR supervisor Marcian Bullard. “We really have an opioid epidemic due to the fentanyl that’s out there. It’s not regular fentanyl, which is used for elephants.”
The MSDH is making naloxone more readily available. Your local pharmacist can now dispense it without a prescription from a doctor, and it’s available to be delivered directly to your home for free.
There are still precautions to take when administering the drug yourself.
“Even if you give the Narcan and the person comes out and feels better, it’s always best to call EMS, have them come and check the patient out,” said Bullard.
For former addicts like Amber, Narcan is not only the reason she’s alive, but living a new life in a brand new home with the love of her life. She hopes it will give others that reason to live too.
“I don’t think people realize how many lives it has and it will save,” she said. “I think a lot of people, when they first think about it, they only think about t helping drug addicts. I don’t think they think about toddlers getting into their parents’ medication.”
How do it get a naloxone kit?
Visit the website MakeMississippiODFree.org, and you’ll have three options for getting the medication free, and without a prescription:
- Download a voucher from Narcan for obtaining their naloxone product from a local pharmacy
- Download a voucher from Kloxxado for obtaining their naloxone product from a local pharmacy
- Request a naloxone kit mailed directly to your home from MSDH
All information will be kept confidential. Any information you provide is only used to identify areas of need and help the health department improve services offered by the program.
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