Narcan-resistant Drug Appears in Indiana


Ems world Reports

A potent opioid that is suspected as the cause of at least 47 overdose deaths in Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, appears to be resistant to Narcan, health officials are reporting.

Known as acrylfentanyl, the drug has not been included on the Drug Enforcement Organization’s list of controlled substances because it is so new, according to the PRN Newswire. Researchers suspect, but have not confirmed, that acrylfentanyl is resistant to Narcan—also known as naloxone—a medicine that reverses the effects of heroin and other opioid drugs.

Authorities fear that an opioid immune to Narcan would drive overdose death numbers higher.

Area police and fire departments have used multiple doses of Narcan to save the lives of overdose victims. The drug is administered nasally, although it can also be given via syringe.

At least 18 and as many as 28 county residents died from overdoses last year, Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said.

The way deaths are recorded in Indiana accounts for the discrepancy. If a person overdosed in Boone County, but was taken to an Indianapolis hospital and died there, for example, it would be considered a Marion County death.

Heroin and other opioids suppress the breathing reflex; in an overdose, the victim’s body basically forgets to breathe. Narcan interrupts the chemical reaction between the opioid and brain cells, but often has to be administered more than once. Several overdose victims in Lebanon are known to have needed three or four doses of naloxone before they recovered.

Often those who overdose have taken a mixture of heroin and other opioids.

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