Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Health officials urge more people to carry drug that reverses opioid overdoses

Health officials urge more people to carry drug that reverses opioid overdoses

The nation's chief doctor wants more Americans to start carrying the overdose antidote naloxone to help combat the nation's opioid crisis and save lives. "It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77 percent of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home".

Naloxone, which can be administered through a nasal mist or by injection, blocks the effects of an overdose and revives the victim.

According to new numbers just released by the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses caused 632,331 deaths between 1999 and 2016/ Some 351,600 were opioid overdoses. "It is for this reason that I am issuing the first Surgeon General's Advisory in 13 years".

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"That partnership along with the county health departments actually doing the trainings, the prescriptions, storing the product, getting it out to the community has worked really well in West Virginia in getting narcan in the hands of people who need it the most or even want it", added Gamble.

Naloxone Hydrochloride is the ingredient in Narcan that can save the life of someone beginning to overdose.

For those who are uninsured, Narcan can cost around $80 per dose but the antidote is often available at little or no cost through local public health programs, Adams said.

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All states have passed laws to increase access to naloxone.

Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the push, arguing that naloxone doesn't treat addiction and merely discourages people from seeking treatment by essentially offering a safety net if they do overdose. First responders already carry naloxone for emergencies.

The number of people who participate in syringe service programs and who reported having a naloxone kit in the last three months has more than doubled from 22% in 2015 to slightly over 50% in 2017.

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The U.S. Surgeon general has urged Americans to carry naloxone.

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