Too Little Naloxone Being Dispensed in Many Areas That Need it Most: CDC

naloxone

Far too little naloxone is being dispensed in many areas of the country hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Too few physicians are prescribing the opioid overdose antidote to patients with a substance use disorder, the CDC said.

The number of naloxone prescriptions is on the rise, the Associated Press reports. Naloxone prescriptions dispensed by retail pharmacies doubled between 2017 and 2018, from 271,000 to 557,000.

In a news release, the CDC recommended that healthcare providers consider offering naloxone to all patients at risk for overdose. “Some risk factors make patients particularly vulnerable to prescription opioid overdose, including taking high daily dosages of prescription opioid pain relievers, using benzodiazepines concurrently with opioids, and having a history of substance use disorder,” the CDC said.

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

A variety of drugs and drug combinations carry the risk of fatal overdose. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose includes calling 911. However, in the case of opioids, which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) can reverse an overdose, potentially saving a loved one’s life.

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