Narcan will soon be available over-the-counter

Narcan will soon be available over-the-counter
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:50 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - For the first time ever, Narcan will be available over-the-counter in the United States.

This is a step many advocates said is important amid the opioid epidemic.

Narcan reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Soon it’ll be available at places like grocery stores, gas stations and online.

More than one million people have died from drug overdoses in the 20 years since the CDC started tracking that data.

Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan for over-the-counter use amid the opioid epidemic.

The nasal spray will come in two four-milligram doses. If the person overdosing doesn’t respond to the first dose, the second can be used.

It’ll be sold in places like drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations and online.

Eyewitness News spoke with the Root Center for Advanced Recovery about the FDA’s decision. Root provides substance use and mental health services at 10 locations in the state.

“We couldn’t be more excited. From my perspective, this is a long time coming. It should’ve happened months, if not years ago. We’re in an opioid epidemic. Root Center for Advanced Recovery serves 5,500 patients a day with opioid dependence. And it has been too much of an arduous process to get a hold of Narcan, which is a lifesaving drug,” said Steven Zuckerman, President And CEO of the Root Center for Advanced Recovery.

The FDA said it’ll be up to the drug maker to set the price for Narcan.

“Now it’s going to be much more easy to attain this life saving medication, family members to attain such. And I think we are guaranteed to save more lives,” Zuckerman said.

Doctors said it’s easy to use.

“It’s just a squeeze of the thumb, push it right in, it’s absorbed into the mucosa into your bloodstream and gets up to the brain very quickly,” said Dr. J. Craig Allen, Medical Director at Rushford Hartford Healthcare.

Many people Eyewitness News spoke with said it’s a step in the right direction.

“Absolutely, if any joe off the street can go in and buy some to have it on hand, that can save a lot of lives,” said Jason Emory of Hartford.

“We must come together and organize to set a plan to help these people because it’s necessary and life is vital,” said Geeshan Wade of Hartford.

Others have reservations.

“Some people might take advantage of it,” said Harold Mackie of Willimantic.

“What we really really want is the private insurers to also continue to pay or at least have a reduced copay for this medication,” Allen said.

It should be available over the counter by late summer.

FDA approves Narcan for over-the-counter