Public Health Info-Opioids & Narcan

Drug overdose and opioid misuse are current serious public health crises in the United States, with about 55 people dying every day. Washington State is working to reduce opioid deaths, hospitalizations, and prescriptions through their statewide opioid response plan which includes opioid education and access to Narcan to help reverse overdoses. As SPU is located in a large metropolitan city, we may encounter individuals affected by this crisis and have the opportunity to be a Good Samaritan and act to save a life. Scroll down to learn more about the Good Samaritan Law, opioids, and Narcan.

Opioid FAQs

  What is an opioid? An addictive class of drugs used for pain relief that are often used non-medically and illegally. Examples include heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, etc.

  Are all opioids illegal? No. Many drugs in this class are prescribed and used for medical purposes, often for severe pain relief. These should be taken only as prescribed and directed and always with serious caution. Examples are oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and codeine. Health Services does not prescribe opioids.

  What is fentanyl? Fentanyl is a type of strong synthetic opioid used medically and commonly used illegally and mixed into street drugs. As little as two milligrams can be fatal to the user. Fentanyl testing strips can check for the presence of fentanyl in powders and solutions and are available in Health Services.

Overdose FAQs

  What is an overdose? An overdose is when a toxic amount of a substance is used and can lead to death. Tolerance to opioids can build over time, so the amount to cause an overdose can vary from person to person and can depend on the drug.

  Can I overdose from prescription medication? Yes, even if taken as prescribed and directed, there is always risk of overdose.

  Symptoms of opioid overdose: Overdose can cause respiratory depression which looks like infrequent breathing or no breathing and can lead to cardiac arrest. Other symptoms include sleepiness, small pupils, blue lips, cold skin, being unresponsive or unconscious.

  What if I think someone is overdosing? This is a medical emergency! If ON CAMPUS, call 206-281-2911 or x2911 from a campus phone. If off campus, call 911. If safe to do so, you can administer Narcan and stay with the person until help arrives.

Narcan FAQs

  What is Narcan? Narcan is the brand name for a drug called naloxone which can reverse an opioid overdose if given in time. The most common way to give Narcan is a nasal spray.

  How do I use Narcan? Insert the tip of the Narcan vial into one nostril and push the button on the bottom of the medication. Each device contains only one dose, so do not push the button until it is in the person's nose. If the person does not improve in 2-3 minutes, give another dose in the other nostril.

  How fast does Narcan work? Generally within two minutes. If the person doesn't start improving in 2-3 minutes, administer another dose. Sometimes several doses are needed.

  What if Narcan is used and the person wasn't overdosing? It's ok! Narcan isn't harmful if given to someone who doesn't need it. According to the Good Samaritan Law, a person who provides emergency care without compensation to an individual will not be liable for civil damages related to providing emergency care.

Can anyone carry Narcan? In the state of Washington, anyone can carry and administer Narcan in a suspected overdose situation.

  How do I get Narcan? Anyone in the state of Washington can order free Narcan once a month. You can also inquire about Narcan and fentanyl testing strip kits at Health Services and OSS.

How do I get help for drug addiction? If you or a friend are in crisis and need immediate help, you can reach the crisis and suicide hotline at 988 or the King County crisis line at 888-467-3219. SPU has confidential counseling services and can help you find the resources you need.