FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The dangers of the opioid fentanyl are widely known – but there is a way to save the life of someone exposed to it and Fresno County’s interim health director wants everyone to know how to use it.

“We’re at a stage in where our society is at where it’s really time for us to teach everyone under the sun how to use Naloxone,” explained interim health director Dr. Rais Vohra to a crowded room at UCSF Fresno earlier this month.

Dr. Vohra was speaking at UCSF Fresno to members of the Doctors Academy, made up of high school seniors. Naloxone was also given to them to take home and teach other people how to use it.

Experts say the best way to treat someone exposed to fentanyl is to use Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan. Fentanyl is often found mixed in with other drugs, such as cocaine, meth, and even marijuana. Narcan is described as safe to use even if an opioid is not present.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdoses related to opioids increased 25% from the previous year, much of it fueled by the increased availability of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. 

Michelle Rivera, Fresno County Department of Public Health

Speaking on SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says we need more Narcan to be available, addressing substance abuse as a cause.

“I want to make sure we do everything we can to help address these issues because they preceded COVID, but they’ve certainly gotten worse during the pandemic. We need, need more Narcan to be available.”

You can get Narcan for free in Fresno from:

  • Community Regional Medical Center’s emergency department, 2823 Fresno Street
  • Fresno County Department of Public Health, 1221 Fulton Street

To use Narcan, the American Medical Association has a video on their website breaking down how to administer the various antidotes available. Steps for the nasal spray include peeling back the package to remove the device, holding it with your thumb on the plunger and two fingers on the nozzle, holding the tip of the nozzle in either nostril until your fingers are in contact with the patient’s nose, and then press the plunger in firmly to release the dose into the patient’s nose.