Narcan Parties

Picture this: a roomful of junkies sitting around shooting and snorting and smoking heroin. Every time someone nods out the others applaud. Every time someone dies, another junkie whips out the Narcan. There will be no ODs today. Not forever ODs anyway. Why? Because this is a Narcan Party.

It’s also a myth.

Sure, junkies do occasionally abuse together. (Ever hear of a shooting gallery?) But it’s hardly a social gathering. See, once a junkie takes his or her shot, he or she generally nods out. There’s no talking. There’s no applause. And, with every junkie overdosing, there wouldn’t be anybody in any shape to save another’s life.

That doesn’t mean Narcan doesn’t save lives. It has. And it does. More times than anyone’s been able to count. And it makes great sense to have a dose on hand in the event of an emergency. But anyone who thinks people are seeking emergencies needs to think again. Even junkies know enough not to willingly step off the ledge.

What is Narcan?

Narcan is a brand name of naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdoses. Naloxone was patented in 1961, cleared by the FDA in ‘71, and is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.

Narcan is an opioid antagonist used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression. Narcan is also used for diagnosis of suspected or known acute opioid overdose. It is a life-saver. It doesn’t get you high.

And while Narcan can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, it is by no means a sure thing. Often a victim will require repeated doses to counteract an overdose. And that in turn requires a cognizant, competent person be on hand. Narcan party attendees would hardly fit the bill.

The Dangerous Myth of Narcan Parties

In short, Narcan Parties are an urban myth. But it’s a very dangerous urban myth. On the one hand it might gives junkies the idea that they’re invincible so long as Narcan is readily available. On the other, critics might cite this as a reason to curtail the drugs availability.

We at Recovery Boot Camp want to be clear: Narcan is for saving lives. But it is not a Get Out of Death Free Card. And it’s best everyone get the idea of Narcan Parties out of their heads.

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