Experts say getting your hands on Narcan is easy in Wisconsin

Published: Jul. 27, 2018 at 5:40 PM CDT
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Four people were saved from an opioid overdose using the drug 'Narcan' or ‘Naxolone’. The Fond du Lac Fire Department says the incidents happened this month in a matter of ten days.

Doctors and experts are saying it's crucial family and friends of opioid users have Narcan readily available, before it's too late. Emergency doctor of 21 years, Laura Vogel-Schwartz, says she's seen a sizeable increase of people having opioid overdoses, both heroin and pills.

Luckily, getting your hands on 'Narcan' is easy in Wisconsin.

"Initially when I started my training we were just using this in the emergency department, ambulances were using it, now there's increased use. Law enforcement is able to use it and the general public with training is able to get the medication and use it to treat a family member or loved ones who have overdoses that they recognize at home," said Dr. Vogel-Schwartz.

CVS Pharmacy in Green Bay says the cash price of Narcan is $94.00, but with the help of insurance or Medicaid, the cost could be free or just a small co-pay.

Organizations like The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin provides training and Narcan kits for free.

"Within the last year in Brown County the Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin has distributed more than 2,000 doses of Naloxone to individuals and organizations," said Kristen Grimes, director of prevention services for ARCW.

Dr. Vogel-Schwartz says just four years ago there were shortages in Narcan availability and prices were also high. Now prices are much more affordable and Narcan is no longer on her list of medicine shortages.

"You don't necessarily need a prescription, you just need to get it from the pharmacy counter, there's some education that's required, you don't just go and grab it off the shelf like you would ibuprofen, but you don't need a prescription," said Dr. Vogel-Schwartz.

Narcan can be administered two ways, via injection and a nasal spray. The nasal sprays available at pharmacies are user friendly and have instructions on the box.

"We want to be able to keep people alive so they can get to the point of recovery and so if friends and family are prepared to intervene when someone does overdose, then we can make sure that they are here and alive and with us when they're ready to recover and can get to that next stage of life," Grimes says.