Narcan prescription numbers increase over the last decade

Narcan prescriptions up nearly 200% over the last 10 years
Published: Nov. 11, 2023 at 12:18 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In the last 10 years, the prescription numbers for Naloxone - better known as Narcan - increased by almost 200% in Alabama.

More and more physicians are prescribing the life saving medication to treat patients possibly at risk of an opioid overdose.

Doctors tell WBRC these numbers show their awareness campaign is a success.

According to Dr. Greg Ayers, physicians are now co-prescribing Narcan with an opioid pain killer and to people who are in a position to save someone’s life.

“That means our education is having an impact because we are seeing an increase in Naloxone, which is the antidote if you will to morphine,” Dr. Ayers said.

The idea is to save as many lives as possible. It could be the patient that was prescribed the opioid or a loved one that got ahold of those medications.

“Co-prescribing is something that we from the medical association standpoint is something that we emphasize,” Dr. Ayers said.

These prescriptions are also being used more frequently by law enforcement.

“The first person that’s on the scene and a lot of the times that’s the police officer, it’s an EMT, or someone form the fire department that can administer that medication to an individual,” Dr. Ayers said.

The American Medical Association has been working to make physicians more aware about over prescribing opioids, from 2012 to 2022 those numbers decreased by 43%.

“The problem now is fentanyl it’s not doctors over prescribing drugs now there is a few out there probably doing too much and we are trying to weed those out but by enlarge we’ve seen a huge decrease in overall prescribing,” Dr. Ayers said.

Dr. Ayers warns that fentanyl is everywhere and because nowadays you don’t know when you’ll come in contact with this drug, it’s a good idea to purchase Narcan and keep it around your home, in your vehicle or a first aid kit.

About a month ago, Narcan became available over the counter, so you can now purchase it at your local pharmacy. Most local health departments offer training on how to use it.

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