Surgeon general wants opioid antidote accessible

Surgeon general wants opioid antidote accessible

Naloxone is created to rapidly reverse an overdose.

Across the U.S., 63,632 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, with opioids accounting for about two-thirds of that total.

"Costs should not and, in the near future, will not be a barrier to accessing naloxone for anyone in America", Adams said.

"You know family members".

Naloxone, an antagonist medication, stops overdoses by knocking "opiates off of the (opioid) receptors" in the brain, said Ann Noonan, director of SUD Center of Excellence at Mental Health Partners, a nonprofit community mental health center in Boulder.

Mendell praised Adams' call for broader naloxone access, but said there was "more than frustration" with the Trump administration's handling of the opioid problem thus far. One form of injection, given as a shot, requires some professional training.

Naloxone can be easily administered. This auto-injectable device comes pre-filled with naloxone and provides instructions for anyone to inject it into the thigh of someone who is overdosing.

Naloxone, if given in time, can revive a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped due to an overdose.




Adapt Pharma Inc., the closely held distributor of the Narcan spray, welcomed the advisory in a statement, saying it's "committed to expanding affordable access" of its product.

Even if the person isn't experiencing an opioid overdose, a dose of naloxone won't harm them. "Our budget is not unlimited", but the cost for 200 doses would come out to about $7,500.

The U.S. surgeon general urged Americans to keep the opioid overdose antidote naloxone on hand and get trained to administer it, making the first nationwide advisory in 13 years amid the epidemic.

The drug, which is often referred to by the brand name Narcan, is available without a prescription in most states and is regularly used by first responders across the country. Adams says 95 percent of all insured Americans are covered to purchase naloxone, which can cost around $80 for one dose.

"We will train you in the office, we post our trainings online or you can walk in anytime and we will train you within 20 minutes and you'll walk out with a lifesaving kit for free", he said. He said he wants more federal funding to increase access to the medication.

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.

The surgeon general's advisory said most states allow family, friends or caregivers to obtain the drug from a pharmacy.

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