The cost of Narcan compared to the cost of cancer


Imagine this: a cancer patient was finally able to go home from the hospital. The patient and their family is happy, but the happiness ends when she takes a look at her hospital bills and realizes she’s not able to afford the treatment. Down the road, a drug addict stumbles into CVS to make sure he has enough Narcan for later, just in case he overdoses.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 64 thousand Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016.

Cocaine and opioids are responsible for most of these deaths, but other drugs such as heroin have been fatal too. On most occasions, Narcan is a drug used to stop the effects of drug overdoses.

According to, “Narcan…Nasal Spray is the first and only FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose.”

Narcan is an over-the-counter drug which immediately stops the effects of a drug overdose. The retail price runs at $148.54, and anyone can purchase Narcan at their local drugstore. Some argue Narcan should be free so reported drug overdoses can decrease in the United States.

“[Narcan should not be free] because if it is free, then addicts will always have it to fall back on, and they may just keep overdosing,” freshman Rachel F. said.

The cost of Narcan is significantly less expensive than drugs which help cancer patients. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, cancer drug prices have doubled in the past decade, from an average of $5,000 per month to more than $10,000. Also, a study by the American Cancer Society found 25 percent of cancer patients do not get tested because they don’t want to deal with the cost of testing and cancer treatment.

The cost of treating cancer is alarming, considering around one million people are diagnosed with forms of this disease annually. Drug addicts pay pennies compared to cancer patients. This is not right. Drug addicts should claim responsibility for their addiction. They’re also responsible for overdosing in the event it occurs.

Some might argue drug addicts are not responsible for their addiction. The National Institute of Drug Abuse states there are factors that can increase the chance someone could become addicted to drugs, such as peers, family, lack of education, and early use. These are factors which can have a large influence, but overall, the drug addict is responsible for their actions. The Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center states addicts usually will try to blame it on others, but overall it is their own fault.

“As a pharmacist, I’ve seen countless amount of people come in and buy Narcan. I personally believe it should be more expensive than it is. Although it helps some [drug addicts], I think it’s just a way they can get out of trouble in a cheap and easy way. Cancer patients deserve better,” pharmacist Lisa Donald said.

Drug addicts should have to pay a higher price for medicine than cancer patients. Although there are a few exceptions such as smoking and tanning, cancer patients cannot help their diagnosis. They didn’t cause the cancer themselves, so they should not have to pay so much. If drug addicts know the price of Narcan is cheap, they’ll continue to overdose, which doesn’t really help the drug problem in the United States. Drug addicts could easily walk into CVS and buy Narcan, while a family with a child who has cancer does anything they can to make sure their child won’t die because they can’t pay the hospital bills. This is not fair in any way. Cancer patients deserve lower treatment costs than drug addicts.