Washington health officials are joining the US surgeon general in urging more people to carry naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. As noted in the statement advising more Americans to carry naloxone, over 42,000 Americans died as a result of opioid overdoses in 2016. Now health officials say more people - including those at risk of an opioid overdose, their friends and family - should keep the medication on hand and learn how to use it.
The United States Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, MD, has urged Americans to carry naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication, in order to protect themselves and others as the consequences of the opioid crisis continue to accumulate.
Naloxone, which can be administered through a nasal mist or by injection, blocks the effects of an overdose and revives the victim.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is sold over the counter in most states, including OR and Washington. A two-dose pack of Narcan is among many options available and the drug is increasingly covered by insurance, according to The Network for Public Health Law, a nonprofit that helps government agencies.
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Naloxone Hydrochloride is the ingredient in Narcan that can save the life of someone beginning to overdose. The surgeon general also wants more federal funds dedicated to increasing naloxone access on local levels.
All states have passed laws to increase access to naloxone.
Adams said naloxone will not single-handedly solve the opioid crisis and should instead be used "in conjunction with expanded access to evidence-based treatment".
"The urging by the surgeon general means that maybe people will take more notice and will be able to save more lives and prevent unnecessary deaths by opioids", Cohen told the Deseret News. "That would be like me saying I'm not going to do CPR on someone having a heart attack because if we save them, they're just going to go out there and eat fast food and be back here all over again".