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Be Prepared During This Opioid Crisis

Be Prepared During This Opioid Crisis

Naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) is an emergency treatment designed to rapidly reverse the effects of a life-threatening opioid overdose. Last year, Narcan nasal spray was the first naloxone product approved by the U.S. FDA to be available over the counter. Now that Narcan is readily available, anyone who has it in their first aid kit or carries it with them can save a life.

“People who think an opioid overdose could never happen to someone they know are mistaken,” warns Medical Director of Washington Hospital Emergency Department, Dr. Kadeer Halimi. “The countrywide opioid overdose epidemic, recently fueled by the availability of fentanyl, affects everyone regardless of gender, age, race or socioeconomic status. We see victims of opioid overdose every week in our ED, some who we unfortunately cannot resuscitate, and all of them could have been helped by someone with Narcan.”

Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) will present a live online seminar, “Naloxone: A Lifesaver in the Opioid Crisis,” on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. with an introductory message from the Hospital’s community partner, Haller’s Pharmacy. To watch this 30-minute presentation on Facebook, sign in to your account, then go to Or you can watch it without an account at If you cannot watch it live, the seminar will be available the following day on YouTube.

The seminar will cover risk factors of opioid overdose and physical signs that someone has overdosed including respiratory failure, small pupils, unresponsiveness, and bluish skin. How to administer Narcan and who should have it on hand will also be discussed.

Opioids are a type of drug including strong prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone and tramadol. The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin. Drug traffickers often mix fentanyl into other drugs because it is inexpensive to manufacture and a little goes a long way. Many overdoses are a result of someone unknowingly consuming or even just having skin contact with fentanyl, and a very small amount (2 mg) can be deadly. Administering Narcan nasal spray immediately reverses the effects of these opioids with no adverse side effects, and no harm is done if it turns out the person is actually experiencing another medical emergency, not an opioid overdose.

In addition to recommending people have Narcan in their first aid kits at home and in their cars, Dr. Halimi wants the community to know it is important to call 911 immediately after reviving an overdose victim with Narcan. “Opioids have a longer half-life than Narcan, so even if a person receives a dose of Narcan which is effective for 30 to 60 minutes, it can wear off before the opioids in a person’s system does,” he explains.

Community awareness about lifesaving naloxone (now available in most pharmacies) is critical in the Tri-City Area as well as across the U.S. Share this upcoming seminar date and time with loved ones. To learn more about this important overdose reversal agent, check out For more information on Dr. Halimi or the WHHS Emergency Department, go to