Fighting the opioid crisis in America should be a priority for every health official in this country. Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, hopes to prevent deaths resulting from an opioid overdose by advocating for Americans to carry Naloxone, the “overdose antidote”.
At the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, which took place in Atlanta on April 2-5, Dr. Adams discussed his new health advisory. The annual Summit’s mission is to discuss prevention and treatment for health issues in the United States.
Naloxone, which costs $80 for a single dose and is covered by insurance, is an injectable medication given to someone who is overdosing on an opioid — either a prescription opioid or heroin. It can also be sprayed in the nose. It is referred to as an opioid antagonist and can reverse the effects of the drug and restore normal breathing.
Dr. Adams says that all opioid users and their family and friends should have access to the antidote, which is available over the counter. According to the nation’s head doctor, 77 percent of these overdoses occur outside of any type of medical setting, away from any health professionals, so having greater access to this medication may save lives.
People who do not have insurance, can obtain this medicine from local health programs for free or a reduced cost. Dr. Adams also wants more federal money to go towards enabling this access.
“The opioid crisis in this country is a sad but growing reality in this country, and it affects us here in Georgia,” said Cade Parian, personal injury lawyer at The Parian Law Firm. “Giving those affected by this terrible crisis the option to carry Naloxone and use it if the need arises is a positive step towards preventing fatal overdoses and should be encouraged. Contrary to what many people believe, these deaths do not result only from heroin overdoses; often they are the result of a doctor legally prescribing pain medication for an injury and not properly overseeing a patient’s usage and dosage, resulting in an overuse and addiction. These doctors and drug companies who promote the drugs’ overuse should be held responsible.”
Naloxone, also called Narcan, can be bought in the District of Columbia and in all but the following states at either CVS or Walgreens pharmacies:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
In 2016, more than 42,000 Americans died because of an opioid overdose, up from 33,251 in 2015. Hopefully solutions like this will help to bring this number down.