With Drug Overdoses On the Rise, Naloxone Offers Hope


Current statistics show that nearly 2,000 Ohioans overdose on drugs every year. However, the opioid-blocking drug naloxone has saved the lives of thousands.

In 2013, 12,151 doses of naloxone were administered in the state of Ohio. While drug overdose statistics are high and rising in the Buckeye State, this opioid reversal drug has saved tens of thousands of lives. Naloxone works by blocking or countering the effects of certain opioids like heroin, which has saved many from drug overdose deaths. It can work as quickly as two to eight minutes.

And now, even more people can access it. When the Ohio House passed HB4, it allowed physicians to dispense of the drug to at-risk patients as well as anyone who might be able to assist in the event of an overdose, such as a family member. HB4 also allowed pharmacists to dispense naloxone.

What types of drugs does naloxone block?

Naloxone reverses the effects of most opioids, including prescription painkillers, including:

  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Vicodin
  • Morphine

Opioid Use in Franklin County

Franklin County had the highest naloxone usage in Ohio with 2,840 uses in 2013. From 1999 to 2011, the drug overdose death rate in Ohio increased 440 percent. Heroin and other opioids are cheaper and more readily available than ever before – many believe that drug overdoses will continue to rise, but are hopeful that naloxone can at least mitigate the number of drug overdose deaths. Lorain County also piloted a naloxone program in October 2013. Within a year, naloxone had been administered 69 times and saved the lives of 63 drug overdose patients.

Naloxone gives people who overdose on drugs a second chance where before they would have had none.