FDA considers broadening access to opioid overdose treatment

The Food and Drug Administration held a public hearing Thursday to discuss making the life-saving opioid overdose reverser naloxone available over the counter. Although opiate overdoses are on the rise, many people still don’t know about naloxone, which literally reverses the dangerous effects of taking too much OxyContin or heroin by counteracting the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system.

The Drug Policy Alliance, a group that seeks to advance policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, said in a policy brief that naloxone’s status as a prescription drug is one of the key barriers to broader access. And due to its status as a generic medication, producing it does not yield substantial profits, so many pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to manufacture it, the organization noted.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that naloxone has successfully saved the lives of more than 10,000 overdose victims since 1996. However, only 15 states and the District of Columbia currently have naloxone distribution programs. This, despite the fact that nearly 40 Americans die per day from overdoses of prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, according to a recent CDC report.

Learn more about what to do in the event of an opiate overdose here (courtesy of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), or watch the video below to learn more about Narcan administration. Or contact The DOPE Project.


About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My current project is a book on prescription drug and heroin addiction that will be published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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2 Responses to FDA considers broadening access to opioid overdose treatment

  1. Jodi Barber says:

    Erin, you are doing amazing work in order to spread awareness. This is a great page you started. Your brother is watching everything you’re doing and very proud!! Keep up the fight !! Thank you, Jodi ox

  2. bennie jones says:

    I do not believe in replacing one problem for another. Suboxone patients state that it has severe side effects and getting off it is extreme side effects.

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