Narcan and Overdose Training in Mississippi

While fatal opioid overdoses in Mississippi are low compared to many other states, there is still substantial cause for concern.1 Between early 2017 and early 2020, there were 536 opioid-involved overdose deaths in Mississippi, which represents 65% of all overdose deaths in the state during that time.2 It’s not only heroin contributing to these deaths. One of the major risk factors for overdose is holding an opioid prescription or taking someone else’s prescription illicitly. Unfortunately, Mississippi prescribers dispense opioid prescriptions at a rate significantly higher than the national average (78.6 prescriptions per 100 persons compared to the U.S. average of 51.4 per 100 persons).3

What Is Naloxone?

There are two main naloxone-administering devices that are generally used by non-medical professionals to use on someone who is overdosing on opioids: Narcan and Evzio.*

Narcan is a nasal spray, while Evzio is an auto-injection device to be used on the outer thigh. When used properly, each device delivers one full dose of naloxone, which may restart breathing in someone whose breathing has slowed or stopped after overdosing on opioids. 4

Both Narcan and Evzio provide instructions on how and when to use their devices on their websites and packaged with the medication. The Mississippi Board of Pharmacy also provides a useful online naloxone training video to the general public, which goes over many of the basics regarding naloxone use and responding to an opioid overdose.

* Evzio was discontinued in the fall of 2020; however, the remaining supplies may still be available at some pharmacies. If you have Evzio, you can still use it until its expiration date.5

Where Can I Get Narcan Near Me?

Pharmacist handing out naloxone

By law, all Mississippi pharmacies are permitted to provide naloxone upon request without the need for a prescription.6  Call your local pharmacy to confirm they are distributing naloxone and to inquire about the cost.

If you live in a region of Mississippi where you don’t have local access to naloxone, you can put in a request with Next Distro, a national harm reduction organization, for injectable naloxone to be mailed to you. Injectable naloxone is slightly more complicated to administer in an emergency than nasal spray or autoinjector because it requires drawing the medication through a vial. Getting training on how to use it when you receive it can help you feel more confident in an overdose situation.

Another option is to purchase naloxone online at naloxoneexchange.com, which will deliver the medication to Mississippi residents. You do not need a prescription to order the medication from this online pharmacy. This online pharmacy provides a naloxone kit that requires assembly before use. Like injectable naloxone, delivery of naloxone in this way is more complicated than using Narcan nasal spray or an Evzio autoinjector. The website provides training to help you understand how to use their kit so that you can take quick action in an emergency when every second counts.

Mississippi’s Good Samaritan Immunity Law

The threat of civil or criminal punishment for a low-level drug offense such as possessing a controlled substance may prevent someone from acting quickly to help another person who is overdosing and needs medical attention. Fortunately, due to the Mississippi Medical Emergency Good Samaritan Act, Mississippi residents need not fear legal repercussions for minor drug violations when they seek medical help in an overdose emergency.9

If you seek help for an overdosing person and do so “in good faith” then you shall not be arrested for prosecuted for:9

  • Possession of a controlled substance, provided the mixture is less than 4 grams of a solid substance, less than twenty 20 dosage units, or less than one 1 milliliter of a liquid substance.
  • Possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana or 10 grams or less of synthetic cannabinoids (Spice/K2).
  • Possession and use of drug paraphernalia.

Seeking help means calling 911 or other emergency service or providing care to an overdosing person, such as administering naloxone or CPR with rescue breathing, while awaiting arrival of emergency services.9

You are also afforded these legal protections if you are the one overdosing and you seek help for yourself or if you are the subject of another person’s request for help.9

Similarly, the Emergency Response and Overdose Prevention Act protects from criminal and civil liability those who administer an opioid antagonist (such as naloxone) to a person they believe to be suffering an opioid overdose.10

The purpose behind these “good Samaritan” laws are to encourage people who may have otherwise hesitated for fear of being sued for liability or charged with a crime to act quickly and decisively to save someone’s life.

How Does Naloxone Work, and When Do I Use It?

Naloxone works to reverse an opioid overdose by binding with the opioid receptors in the body and blocking and reversing the effects of other opioids. The drug has no effect on someone that does not have opioids in their system; but for someone overdosing on opioids it may restart their breathing.4

It’s easy and safe for laypeople to administer naloxone is by using the Narcan nasal spray, which can be obtained without a prescription at many pharmacies in Mississippi.6  Evzio, a simple-to-use autoinjector device, may also be available at some pharmacies; however, the manufacturer discontinued it in the fall of 2020. If you do have a device, it may be used up until its expiration date.

Whenever an overdose occurs, emergency medical services are required, even if the overdosing person becomes responsive after receiving naloxone.4 Always call 911 for emergency help. There can be significant variability in how long naloxone will be effective depending on the opioid(s) taken and how much was taken. The signs and symptoms after opioid overdose may return, and repeat doses of naloxone may need to be given or additional medical interventions may be required.

Steps to Take When Someone Overdoses

When you believe someone has overdosed on opioids, take the following steps:12

  1. Check for responsiveness by tapping the person and shouting.
  2. Contact emergency services by calling 9-1-1. Tell them someone is non-responsive and needs help. Give them your location.
  3. Locate and retrieve naloxone
  4. Administer naloxone as soon as possible.
  5. If the individual remains non-responsive and not breathing, the 911 dispatcher may guide you to grab and use automated external defibrillator (AED), if available. He or she may also have you begin CPR using rescue breaths, if you are trained to do so. If you are not trained or not comfortable performing rescue breaths, begin hands-only CPR. For a list of first aid and CPR training classes near Etta, MS, visit the Red Cross website.
  6. If the person remains non-responsive after 2-3 minutes of CPR, provide another dose of naloxone if possible.
  7. CPR should be continued as long as the person remains unresponsive and is not breathing. Stay with them and monitor them until emergency medical services arrive on scene.
  8. If the person begins breathing or regains consciousness, set the person on their side and bend their knees. Position the head to ensure their airway stays open. This will reduce the possibility of them choking on their own vomit. Remain on scene until emergency services arrive. 

Naloxone Training with American Addiction Centers

 

Mississippi Harm Reduction Resources

Harm reduction is an approach to public health policy that:13

  • Accepts that population-wide abstinence from certain risky behaviors is not feasible.
  • Works to reduce the morbidity and mortality of these behaviors.

While some of these policies are controversial, harm reduction has proved effective in many instances. One of the most notable examples of success in harm reduction is the advent of needle-exchange programs, where people are provided an avenue to give up their used needles in exchange for sterile needles. This approach has slowed the spread and reduced the death rate of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) when compared with communities that did not implement needle-exchange programs.13

Unfortunately, Mississippi does not authorize needle exchange programs. However, syringes can be purchased from a pharmacy without a prescription, making sterile needles more accessible and thereby reducing the spread of infectious disease.14

There are also designated MS locations where people can dispose of their used syringes safely.

Mississippi Opioid Epidemic: Statistics

In recent years, Mississippi has experienced fewer fatal opioid overdoses compared with many other states. However, opioid overdose is preventable and reversable, so any overdose death is still cause for concern:

  • In 2018, 310 people died of drug overdoses in Mississippi, 173 of which involved opioids.3
  • Polysubstance use (use of more than one drug) was involved in close to 70% of the Mississippi’s overdose deaths in 2018.15
  • Between 2011 and 2018, adults between the ages of 45 and 54 years old had the highest rates of opioid overdose in Mississippi.15
  • Pearl River county had the highest number of opioid overdoses, with just over 26 deaths per 100,000 residents between 2011 and 2018.15
  • Despite lingering stereotypes about minorities and drug abuse, the overwhelming majority (close to 90%) of MS overdose deaths between 2011 and 2018 occurred among Caucasians.15

Opioid abuse may result in many other harms in addition to overdose, such as the transmission of infectious disease:

  • In Mississippi, 9,466 people were living with HIV reported in 2018. Injection drug use was the mode of transmission in 13.2% of new cases in women and 5.6% of new cases in men that year.16
  • An estimated 22,900 people in Mississippi are living with hepatitis C (based on data compiled between 2013 and 2016). Injection drug use is a common cause of the spread of hepatitis C.3

You don’t have to wait until you or someone you love overdoses or suffers another serious health issue, like becoming infected with HIV, to get help. We can help you reverse the course of opioid dependency and start a sober life with our many addiction treatment programs. To talk confidentially, call us today at . We are here for you 24/7.