Where to Get a Narcan (Naxolone) Kit in Nevada
Opioid misuse and overdose continue to be very serious problems in the United States. Nevada is no exception. Fentanyl– a synthetic opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin—1 caused more than 170 overdose deaths in Clark County between 2018 and mid-2020.2
This increase in fentanyl-related deaths is a major concern and one of the primary reasons that access to naloxone (Narcan) is so critical in Nevada.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse opioid overdose.3 Narcan, a nasal spray device that delivers the drug, is simple to use and easy to find.
How to get Narcan (Naloxone) in Las Vegas
There are several ways to get Narcan in and around Las Vegas. They include:
- Your local Las Vegas pharmacy. Walgreens, CVS, Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, and Walmart all may sell naloxone without a prescription.
- Harm reduction centers and agencies across Nevada. The Nevada State Opioid Response program provides this helpful tool to find naloxone.
Free Narcan Training in Las Vegas
You may have concerns that you can’t give someone Narcan if you aren’t a trained medical professional. However, Narcan is fairly easy to administer. Training is also available to help you feel more confident in giving someone a dose of Narcan. The Southern Nevada Health District offers training at various locations throughout the year. Desert Hope Treatment Center has also offered Narcan training events in the past. To see if any trainings are coming soon, please check our events page.
Even if you cannot attend a live training, video trainings are available to demonstrate how to give a person Narcan in an emergency. You will see in the video that it is a simple process.
View Our Online Narcan Training
American Addiction Centers, Desert Hope’s parent company, has created a short, 6-minute overdose response training video for those looking for brief Narcan training:
How Does Narcan Work?
To understand how naloxone works, you need to know how opioids work. When a person ingests an opioid like heroin or painkillers, the drugs attach to and activate opioid receptors in the body.5 Increasing doses amplify certain opioid effects, and at some threshold the person may experience acute toxicity or overdose, which can lead to depressed breathing, slowed or stopped heartbeat, and death.6
Naloxone (an opioid antagonist) has a high affinity for the same opioid receptors than heroin and painkillers activate. It essentially kicks them off the opioid receptors, binds to these receptors itself, and temporarily blocks additional receptor activation; in doing so, naloxone is able to reverse the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose. Someone who is administered naloxone may quickly begin breathing normally again after experiencing very slowed or stopped breathing.7
How to Use Narcan Nasal Spray
Naloxone is fairly simple to use. If you think someone has overdosed, check for some of the overdose signs provided above. Even if you’re unsure if they have overdosed, it is okay to give them Narcan. Naloxone will not hurt a person who has not overdosed.
If the person is unconscious, try to wake or arouse them by gently shaking them or rubbing their breastbone with your knuckles. Do NOT kick, slap, or punch them.9 The Nevada Department of Public and Behavioral Health outlines the next steps to take:10
- Call 911.
- Give a dose of Narcan.
- If they are not breathing, give them CPR if you are trained to do so and continue until they begin breathing on their own or until emergency responders arrive. View a list of Red Cross CPR trainings in Las Vegas, NV.
- Give a 2nd dose of Narcan if they have not revived/begun breathing normally.
- When the person has started breathing again, place them in the recovery position—on their side with knees bent and one arm supporting their head.
- Stay with the person until emergency personnel arrive.
Who Is at Risk for Overdose?
Risk factors for opioid overdose include:5
- Using prescription opioids without medical oversight.
- Being prescribed high-dose opioids.
- Injecting opioids.
- Using opioids in combination with other drugs that suppress breathing such as benzodiazepines or alcohol.
- Being addicted to opioids (having an opioid use disorder).
- Using opioids again after a period of abstinence.
- Having certain comorbid health conditions, including HIV or mental health issues.
While there are risk factors that indicate who may be particularly vulnerable to overdose, anyone who uses or abuses opioids is at risk. The increasing incidence of fentanyl being added to heroin, counterfeit painkillers and even non-opioid street drugs has contributed to huge numbers of opioid overdose deaths, even among first-time users.1,8
Who Is Likely to Witness an Overdose?
People most likely to witness an opioid overdose include:4
- Those who are at risk of overdosing themselves.
- Loved ones of those who use opioids regularly.
- Healthcare workers or those who otherwise care for or provide services to opioid users.
If you love someone who uses opioids or you’re an opioid user yourself, keeping naloxone with you could mean you saving a life or having your own life saved.
Good Samaritan Law in Nevada
When a person overdoses, people around them sometimes panic and run, afraid to stay around and administer naloxone or call 911 in fear that they may be arrested for using or possessing drugs. However, Nevada, like many states, has a Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act that provides legal protections for:11
- Those seeking help for themselves.
- Those who seek help for others.
- People for whom someone else has requested help.
Provided the individual administering naloxone/seeking emergency assistance acts “in good faith and with reasonable care,” they will be protected from arrest and prosecution for:11
- Possessing controlled substances.
- Possessing drug paraphernalia.
- Being under the influence of or possessing alcohol while underage.
The Nevada Good Samaritan law does NOT provide immunity from arrest or prosecution for more serious crimes including:11,12
- Possessing large amounts of drugs with intent to sell or traffic.
- Violent crimes.
- Child endangerment or neglect.
Nevada Opioid Overdose Statistics
Nevada continues to struggle with the epidemic of opioid overdose, driven in large part with rising access to fentanyl and the adulteration of other drugs with this potent synthetic opioid.
The following statistics from Nevada provide a glimpse into the extent of the problem:13-14
- Southern Nevada experienced a 68% increase in accidental drug overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020.
- Opioids were listed as the cause of death in two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in Southern Nevada in 2020.
- In 2020, more than 77% of those who died from overdose in Southern Nevada had a non-alcohol related substance use problem.
- The percentage of overdose deaths resulting from fentanyl grew by 257% from 2019 to 2020 in Southern Nevada.
Nevada Harm Reduction Resources
Nevada offers several resources to reduce the harm of opioid use for state residents. They include:
- Needle drop-off center in Reno, where you can dispose of used needles.
- Needle exchange vending machines, available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, located at Trac-B Exchange.
- Change Point. The Reno harm reduction center offers services beyond naloxone that include:
- Sterile syringes.
- Safe needle disposal.
- Safer sex kits.
- HIV, hepatitis C, and STI testing.
- Overdose education.
- PrEP and PEP services to prevent HIV transmission.
Traveling for healthcare & essential services is permitted across the US. Addiction treatment is essential, and we are here for our patients in this difficult time. Desert Hope is taking every precaution to ensure patient and staff safety. We are able to test incoming patients and anyone feeling unwell to ensure peace of mind and keep the focus on addiction treatment.