Utah Naloxone

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For poison help or any questions, please call the Utah Poison Control Center

Since 2000, the U.S. has seen a large increase in opioid drug misuse resulting in elevated numbers of overdose cases and deaths. These numbers have reached epidemic levels and drug poisoning is currently the leading cause of deaths due to injuries for adults in the U.S. Utah has ranked top 10 in the nation for overdose deaths over the last 10 years. This website is designed to provide comprehensive information regarding the distribution, possession, and usage of the drug naloxone which acts as an antidote for opioid overdose. The content is based on laws that are pertinent primarily to the state of Utah.

On December 8,2016 the executive director of the Utah Department of Health signed a statewide standing order allowing to dispense naloxone, without a prior prescription, to anyone at increased risk of experiencing or witnessing an overdose. Through this standing order, anyone can walk into a pharmacy and purchase naloxone without a prescription.

To see a copy of the standing order click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is naloxone?

Naloxone (Narcan®) is a life-saving medication that has the opposite effect of prescription pain medications. It is used to wake up people who have overused or overdosed with pain medications or opioids, such as heroin. When people have too many opioids in their body, they become very drowsy and may stop breathing. Naloxone blocks the effect of the opioid so the patient will be able to breathe normally again and save their life.

In the past, Naloxone has mainly been used in the hospital or by emergency medical personal. However, naloxone kits are now available for patients to use for emergency treatment of overdoses at home. The kit typically contains 2 doses of naloxone, directions for use, and either a needle or a device called an atomizer (used to spray naloxone up a patient’s nose). In Utah, a law was passed in March 2016 that also allows friends and family of people at risk for an opioid overdose or overuse to get naloxone without a prescription from participating pharmacies.

Who should have naloxone?
  • Anyone prescribed opioid medication(s) (morphine, methadone, burenorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone) for chronic or acute pain
  • Anyone with family or friends who are prescribed an opioid medication(s)
  • Anyone who uses heroin or other opioids
  • Anyone with family or friends who use heroin or other opioids
  • Anyone taking medications treating depression or depressive substances like alcohol in conjunction with opioids
  • Anyone recently released from prison, detox, or substance use treatment (even after a few days, a persons tolerance for opioids decreases significantly)
  • Anyone injecting opioids
Where can I get naloxone?

Because third party prescriptions are legal in the state of Utah, anyone can obtain naloxone from one of the many pharmacies that do not require a written prescription from your doctor. A full list of locations offering naloxone in stock can be found by clicking here. If you do not see your primary pharmacy on the list, they are likely capable of ordering naloxone if prescribed by a doctor, but do not typically carry the drug in store.

The cost of naloxone depends on the source and product type. In situations where insurance does not offer coverage for naloxone, Utahns can expect to pay anywhere from $50-200 out of pocket for the antidote. However, many agencies offer kits and training for free. Contact us for more information.

How do I know if someone is overdosing?

1) Identify symptoms of an overdose:

  • Pale face, blue lips/fingernails
  • Limp body
  • Slow or no breathing
  • No response after physical stimulation (rub hard in the middle of the person’s chest)
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low blood pressure

2) Recognize common opioids that may lead to overdose:

  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet, Tylox)
  • Hyodrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin, Hycodan, Lorcet, Vicoprofen, Hycet, Norco)
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Codeine (Fioricet, Tylenol #3)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)
  • Fentanyl, including synthetic fentanyl analogs
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Alfentanil  (Alfenta)
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex, Butrans)
  • Tapentadol (Nucynta, Palexia, Tapal)
  • Heroin

3) Administer naloxone if patient is overdosing.*

*Note: If you are unsure whether or not someone is overdosing contact  the Utah Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 and administer naloxone. Naloxone can still be administered at no harm to the patient even if they are not overdosing. Naloxone will not cause a separate overdose. Remember to call 911 emergency responders.

How do I use naloxone?

If you believe you are witnessing an overdose you should perform the following steps:

  1. Call 911
  2. Try to wake the person. Yell the person’s name and rub hard in the middle of their chest (sternal rub).
  3. Check for breathing and pulse
  4. Provide rescue breathing*
  5. Administer naloxone*
  6. Place person on side
  7. Administer 2nd dose of naloxone after 3 minutes if necessary**
  8. Remain with them until EMS arrives

*For full training videos please see our Media section.

**In some cases, more than one dose of naloxone is needed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose since naloxone only lasts about 30-90 minutes. There is a potential risk for a patient to overdose again as the naloxone wears off since there might be longer-acting substances still present in the body. For this reason, it is crucial to still contact emergency medical help even after administering the antidote.

What side effects can happen after I give naloxone?

Naloxone is a very safe drug and has lower risk of complications than other common injectable medications like epinephrine or gulcagon. The most common reaction to the use of naloxone is opioid withdrawal. This is uncomfortable for the person but typically not life-threatening. Withdrawal side effects could appear as a fast heartbeat, anger, vomiting and pain. 

What do I do after I give naloxone?

Naloxone doesn’t last very long, only 30-90 minutes. Most heroin and prescription opioids last much longer. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention after you give naloxone. The person you just saved may get sleepy again and could potentially die from a lack of oxygen. Sometimes people want to take more opioids to relieve withdrawal symptoms, but they should be encouraged not to. Because naloxone blocks the effects of opioids, but does not remove opioids from the brain, they could slip into another overdose.

Will I get in trouble with the law if I call 911 and have drugs in the house?

Naloxone has been approved for use outside of the hospital to help save lives. If you call 911, you are protected from legal charges concerning that person, the overdose, and any side effects of naloxone, because you are trying to save a life. However, you must remain at the scene and comply with medical providers and law enforcement.  If you leave the person without calling 911 and that person dies, you can be charged with his or her death. See Utah’s Good Samaritan Law and Overdose Reporting Amendment for more information.

If you are concerned about trouble with the law from drugs in the house, you should know that drug possession as of October 1, 2015, in Utah has been changed to a Class A misdemeanor from a third degree felony. While the law does not offer you complete immunity, under the circumstances, it is very unlikely that you will be arrested. The important thing is that you can—and should—act to help save a life by giving naloxone.

If you decide to leave an individual, always call 911. If available, administer naloxone and turn the person on their side before leaving. It is also wise to provide some evidence of what the person may have taken to cause the overdose, as well as the empty naloxone, if provided. These steps will better allow emergency responders to assess the situation.

Where can I find a treatment center?

Here is a list of a few well-known and highly recommended treatment centers. We encourage patients or family members seeking treatment to explore all their resources for the most personalized option.

Utah Treatment Resource Listings by County. The Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHSA) page allows you to search for recovery and treatment resources by counties in Utah.

http://dsamh.utah.gov/substance-use-disorders/

USARA: Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness.

www.myusara.com

Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services.

http://slco.org/behavioral-health/

Volunteers of America Utah (VOA).

www.voaut.org

Utah Veterans Substance Use Disorder Program

http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/state_SUD.cfm?STATE=UT

Utah Methadone Clinics

http://www.opiateaddictionresource.com/treatment/methadone_clinic_directory/ut_clinics

Utah Suboxone Programs

http://www.opiateaddictionresource.com/treatment/suboxone_treatment_directory/ut_suboxone

Utah Buprenorphine Treatment Physician Locator

http://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/physician-program-data/treatment-physician-locator?field_bup_physician_us_state_value=UT

Utah Addiction Recovery Centers Listings

http://www.recovery.org/browse/utah/

http://pathwaysreallife.com/

FENTANYL AND SYNTHETIC FENTANYL RELATED SUBSTANCES

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning that it can be created in a lab using many different materials. It is 30-50 times more powerful than heroin and 50-100 times more powerful than morphine.

What are fentanyl related substances?

Because fentanyl is synthesized,  chemists are creating a wide range of similar opioid products that range in potency. Some commonly seen fentanyl-related substances are carfentanil, acetyl fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, and 3-methylfentanil.

Why are fentanyl and fentanyl related substances dangerous?

Compared to other opioid medications, most types of fentanyl are extremely powerful. In its purest form, fentanyl can cause a severe, deadly reaction with only a small amount. Because fentanyl is so powerful, it often takes more than 1 or 2 doses of naloxone to save someone’s life. There have been well-documented cases in which a patient who has overdosed on a synthetic opioid required several administrations of naloxone to reverse the effects of the overdose.

Why are fentanyl and fentanyl related substances spreading throughout the U.S. drug supply?

Because fentanyl is so potent, it offers a high profit margin for drug traffickers. Often, drug traffickers are purchasing fentanyl to transform it into thousands of counterfeit pills.

For more information on acrylfentanyl, fentanyl and its analogues, and naloxone effectiveness, please refer to:

SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit

Bureau of Justice Assistance Law Enforcement Naloxone Toolkit