Narcan kits available at Hometown Pharmacy but with limits - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Narcan kits available at Hometown Pharmacy but with limits

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With overdoses continuing to spike, so is the use of Narcan, the overdose reversal drug. 

Hometown Pharmacy in Youngstown says they have Narcan kits readily available but with some limitations.

Anyone can get a Narcan kit without a prescription and while the law says there is no limit on how many kits someone can buy, Hometown Pharmacy will only give one kit, per person, per day. They say that is just enough to get the overdose reversal process started until the professionals arrive.

"In this area, we're never far from EMS," said pharmacist A.J. Caraballo. "We're not a very rural part of the county, so when somebody gives a dose, you're supposed to wait three minutes before reassessing and determining if that second dose is needed and then it's another three minutes. By the time six minutes have passed, you should have already called EMS and they should already be there to find of further the situation."

Caraballo says they have to be cautious because they don't want people self-treating overdoses at home.

"If they have eight kits available, we don't want them trying to use all eight and then saying, OK, the situation is resolved because often times that interaction with EMS or even police, if they're the ones who show up, that's how we're able to get patients into the treatment system and that's what is really needed," said Caraballo.

Officials are seeing more fentanyl in the area and in some cases, it's taking 10 doses of Narcan to revive them.

"It depends on what the drug is that they overdosed on. Some folks, depending on the patient's size, how much of the opiate they took, two doses might be enough. If it's fentanyl, which is sneaking into more of the heroin in this area, that's where we get into an issue because fentanyl is 50 times more potent than morphine, so a little bit of fentanyl can cause a lot of problems for a patient," said Caraballo.

Caraballo says Narcan is working and saving lives.

"Narcan works by trying to remove those opioids from their receptors and the problem with opioid overdose is respiratory suppression. So in the brain stem in your spinal cord, that's where these opioids are binding and causing a respiratory depression. The idea with Narcan is to try and knock off as much of that opioid as possible to reverse that respiratory depression. Now two doses might not be enough if it's an ultra-potent high dose, but it does get the process started," said Caraballo.

Pharmacies in Ohio are also limiting the supply of opioids dispensed to new patients to help curb the problem.

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