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Companies donate life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan to Illinois

To contribute their bit in combating the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, recently two healthcare companies, Adapt Pharma and AptarGroup, jointly donated 5,000 doses of naloxone to the state of Illinois. On Feb. 8, 2018, the companies gave away 3,400 doses to the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). An additional 1,000 doses were donated to the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition. The Chicago Recovery Alliance office received 600 doses. The agencies will equip their respective personnel with the life-saving drug which will be used for opioid overdose reversal and also for harm reduction.

Adapt Pharma is a pharmaceutical company that manufactures Narcan nasal spray, while AptarGroup is a Crystal-Lake-based company that provides various drug delivery and dispensing solutions for consumer health care.

In 2016, Illinois registered 1,946 opioid overdose deaths, an 82 percent increase since 2013. There was a 10-time increase in deaths – from 87 in 2013 to almost 900 in 2016 – attributable to synthetic opioids like fentanyl and its analogs. The disproportionate contribution of synthetic opioids was reflected in the higher number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses as well as data from emergency medical services (EMS). From Q4 2013 to Q2 2016, EMS encounters involving the administration of naloxone increased 250 percent, from 1,697 to 4,169 incidents, respectively.

Adulterated drugs containing synthetic opioids leading to higher overdoses

According to Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), there has been an increase in cases where heroin and other drugs were found adulterated with synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The high toxicity of fentanyl was leading to a higher frequency of people overdosing. Shah said that emergency personnel were typically required to administer several doses of Narcan to revive an individual who had overdosed on opioids.

Another alarming trend which recently emerged in Illinois was fentanyl-laced cocaine. This lethal drug mixture was termed a “game changer” since regular cocaine users would typically not be found carrying Narcan. However, due to the discovery of fentanyl-laced cocaine, people were advised to either carry Narcan or avoid using cocaine completely.

The joint Narcan donation is part of a bigger program spearheaded to stem the increase in opioid overdose deaths in Illinois. As a part of this initiative, a 24-hour helpline was launched to provide assistance to individuals suffering from addiction to opioids or other problematic drug use in December 2017. Moreover, Shah had issued the Illinois Naloxone Standing Order to make naloxone more readily available to first responders and community members in October 2017.

Dangers of drug addiction

The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that among Americans aged 12 years or older:

  • 6 million people (10.6 percent of the age group) reported past-month use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, hallucinogens and nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs.
  • Nearly 11.8 million people (4.4 percent) misused opioids in the past year.
  • An estimated 7.4 million people (2.7 percent) had an illicit drug use disorder, while 2.1 million people (0.8 percent) had an opioid use disorder (OUD).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), chronic drug use can induce both short-term and long-term changes in the brain which may cause psychological problems like depression, anxiety, aggression, paranoia and hallucinations.

Drug addiction can be treated

Chronic drug addiction can change the life trajectories of affected individuals and their families. The Recover Mental Health offers information on drug rehab treatment which addresses the underlying reasons for addictions. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-2339 or chat online with one of our experts to know more about the best drug treatment center in your vicinity.


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