U.S. Surgeon General Wants More Americans Carrying Naloxone
Last week, the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, issued an advisory urging Americans to carry naloxone, the anti-opioid overdose medication, in an attempt to protect themselves and others as the opioid epidemic continues to escalate.
Naloxone (Narcan) is a drug that can quickly reverse the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose. It has no adverse effects when administered – even if the person doesn’t have opioids in their system.
Adams announced his recommendation at the annual National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, where he also commented on the ongoing drug crisis – noting that more 42,000 Americans died in 2016 from an overdose related to illicit or prescription opioids.
He also stressed that this method would be effective only if its availability increased in conjunction with greater access to addiction recovery treatment.
This recommendation asking more people to carry naloxone follows others, such as Pennsylvania where Physician General Rachel Levine issued a standing order in 2016 to permit state residents to access the life-saving drug at pharmacies.
Of note, one of the leading offenders for the extremely high number of deaths was the synthetic opioid fentanyl – its death rate doubled from 2015-2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) In 2016, nearly 64,000 people died from overdoses related to drugs or alcohol. Other than opioids, commonly killers included benzodiazepines, cocaine, and mixed drug intoxication.
“Naloxone distribution programs give naloxone kits to opioid users, their friends and families, and others who may find themselves in a position to save the life of someone at risk of an opioid overdose.”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology