Surgeon General Urges More Americans To Carry This Life-Saving Drug Overdose Antidote

"You take someone who's nearly not breathing, you think they're dead, you give them this and they pop up".

He's urging more people close to the opioid epidemic - those using opiates illicitly or as prescribed, their family and friends, health care practitioners and anyone else who often comes in contact with those at risk - to carry naloxone.

Dr. Adams said that increasing access to naloxone is key to curbing the rising tide of deaths from drug overdoses involving opioid painkillers, as well as fentanyl and heroin. Those deaths were among the 63,600 fatal drug overdoses overall that year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Pretty bad, it's everywhere", Mari Alvarez said, "a lot of people are overdosing everywhere, I lost a couple of homeless friends from it, family members, you know".

Advocates say in 2016, we lost more people to overdoses than we lost in the almost 20 years of American involvement in the Vietnam War.

More than 60 percent of overdose deaths nationwide are linked to opioid use, the CDC says. They've carried naloxone at high schools and middle schools since fall 2017.

That said, some researchers contend that the increased availability of narcan only serves paradoxically to inspire even more risky drug consumption according to Jennifer Doleac, an assistant professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia.

A benefit of naloxone is that it can be bought in pharmacies across the nation, and most insurers cover it, Noonan said, including Medicaid.

Alabama has already passed legislation to allow for the drug use. Generic naloxone can cost between $20 and $40 per dose, while Narcan can cost around $130 to $140 for a kit that includes two doses. It helps people learn how opioid overdoses happen, how naloxone works, how to recognize overdose risk factors, myths about overdose reversal, and how to administer naloxone. They slow down our breathing and make us feel sleepy. This problem has a lot to do with the fact that many types of drugs are cut with highly deadly substances such as fentanyl. Naloxone is temporary - its effects typically wear off in 20 to 90 minutes. "It's important that we use naloxone as a bridge to definitive treatment and long-term recovery", said Dr. Adams.

Paramedics with Metro have kept Narcan on hand for years.

The House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee is set to hold the last of three hearings on its opioid legislation on April 11, with a goal of bringing a package to the House floor before the Memorial Day recess.

"The growing drug overdose epidemic should be something of great concern for everyone in this country", said Martinsville Deputy Police Chief Rob Fincher.

Visits to emergency departments for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in all parts of the USA from July 2016 to September 2017, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, with an alarming 70 percent increase in the Midwestern region of the US.

  • Joanne Flowers