Opioid-Overdose Antidote Being More Widely Distributed to Those Who Use Drugs

The opioid-overdose antidote naloxone is being more widely distributed to people who use drugs, according to the Associated Press. While many public health officials say it saves lives, critics argue that making the antidote easily available could make people less likely to seek treatment.

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, safely reverses the potentially fatal side effects of an overdose of oxycodone, heroin and other opioids. It has been routinely used by emergency rooms and ambulance crews for decades, the AP notes. In the past few years, Naloxone has been distributed free to opioid users and their loved ones, in a growing number of sites around the country.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that widely distributing Naloxone, and training people in how to use it, could save many lives. It has successfully reversed more than 10,000 drug overdoses since 1996, according to the CDC report. Naloxone is not effective in treating drug overdoses that do not involve opioids.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have programs to distribute naloxone in the community. The programs train people to identify signs of an overdose and provide naloxone to people who use drugs and their loved ones.

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    September 18, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    I am not an addict in the sense of a street addict, I do however use narcotics for pain control daily as prescribed by a doctor.
    While I have never had an issue,having this available to me is reassuring in the case of accidental overdose..
    When taking several medications several times a day even the most careful person is subject to grabbing the wrong bottle.
    Bottom line, I think it’s great.

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    Pamela Lynch

    April 30, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Its about time that we stop wasting scarce resources…this is about not being able to control other peoples’ choices. Our current system wastes a lot of money trying to control others’ behavior. At what point in time will we learn that we can’t protect people from themselves…people can and do learn from an overdose experience.

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    Ron Grover

    April 27, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Narcan saved my son’s live once. Today he is alive, clear and sober since July 2010.

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    Maia Szalavitz

    April 27, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Who are these unnamed “opponents” and “critics”? The fact that no one is willing to speak on the record to make the ludicrous “deters treatment” claim speaks volumes. The one person who ever was quoted as making that argument, former deputy drug czar Bertha Madras, says that she supports naloxone distribution now.

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    lemont gore

    April 27, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Naloxone’s purpose is to save lives, not to induce individuals into treatment. As long as an individual is alive his choice to enter treatment remains an option. Unintentional overdose, even if survived without the use of naloxone, from my personal experience and observations of other addicts, was not, on its own, and inducement to seek treatment.

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