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Narcan: What Happens Next? (2017)

Using Narcan as a starting point for local and county corrections policies

Medication-assisted treatment with Narcan improves both public health and public safety. The trend towards medicationassisted treatment reduces harm, saves lives, and meets the immediate need of an individual in crisis. The question becomes: what happens next?

Narcan (naloxone) is a public health tool to help an individual to survive a period of life-threatening crisis. Narcan allows frontline law enforcement and emergency medical treatment (EMT) workers the ability to decrease the potential that someone will succumb to the potentially fatal effects of an opioid overdose. Most importantly, the public policy of utilizing Narcan demonstrates the potential to create a broader policy shift towards harm reduction and treatment. The larger issue which must be addressed is the upstream systemic cause of the need for Narcan. The problem of drug addiction requires more intervention than simply providing for individuals when they are in crisis. Drug addiction is a treatable disorder, which can be managed through continued care. For Narcan to achieve its greatest potential it must serve as the entry point into a prolonged continuum of care.