In an attempt to maintain their customer base, drug dealers are starting to sell Narcan (naloxone) along with heroin and other opioids. Narcan is a drug that is often prescribed to addicts, carried by law enforcement and other first responders to administer to people in the midst of an opioid overdose. The drug reverses the opioid’s effects on the body and allows the person to be revived if they consume too much. So, to ensure that their customers do not fall victim to overdose deaths, and subsequently stop purchasing drugs, dealers are also selling Narcan.
Of course, the Narcan is obtained illegally and given to addicts without a prescription. This type of black market sale is worrisome to law enforcement and drug addiction experts for several reasons. The main concern is that Narcan is being administered without a doctor overseeing the prescription or following up with the patient after they have been revived with Narcan. While the antidote does help to reverse an overdose, it is necessary for the person to get an examination after receiving Narcan so doctors can assess if any damage has been done by the medication or by the opioids. Another chief concern is that this sort of access to Narcan will encourage addicts to use larger and more powerful doses of opioids because they no longer have to fear overdosing. Instead of helping save someone’s life, Narcan sold on the streets could just open doors to a more intense addiction.
“It’s very common. I’ve heard from many clients, especially here in Jacksonville, that drug dealers are actually selling heroin or opioids with Narcan and that’s not to save their lives. It’s actually to just bring them back to continue to buy more heroin,” explained Dr. Marcus De Carvalho.
In an effort to prevent drug dealers from being able to sell Narcan on the street, investigators have looked into how the drug is being obtained. It appears that some states have very loose regulations regarding the sale of Narcan. This means that anyone can purchase the medication, even without a prescription. This is done so as not to discourage family members and addicts from buying the life-saving drug, but it is also the most likely cause for the drug being sold on the street.
Because Narcan, and it’s popularity, is somewhat new to society, law enforcement and the medical community will have to work together to ensure that addicts have the help they need, but that the drug is not being exploited to sell more opioids.