By ABBY GOODNOUGH APRIL 5, 2018
WASHINGTON — The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome M. Adams, issued a national advisory Thursday urging more Americans to keep on hand and learn how to use the drug, naloxone, which can save the lives of people overdosing on opioids. Naloxone has already revived thousands of overdose victims as the opioid epidemic has intensified, but rescue workers have usually been the ones to administer it.
It was the first advisory issued by a surgeon general since 2005, and it underscored the urgency of addressing an opioid epidemic that has killed more than 250,000 people over the past decade, including more than 42,000 people in 2016.
Dr. Adams said making naloxone more available in communities across the country is critical to reducing overdose deaths among people prescribed high doses of opioids for pain, as well as those who abuse painkillers or illicit opioids like fentanyl and heroin.
“Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose — that’s one person every 12.5 minutes,” Dr. Adams said in a statement. “It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77 percent of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home.”
Naloxone can be administered through a nasal mist or an injection, suspending the effects of an overdose and resuscitating the victim. Many police officers and emergency medical technicians already carry the drug, and most states and many cities have issued standing orders allowing anyone to get naloxone at a pharmacy without a prescription. Most insurance plans cover it, and people can sometimes get it for free or low cost through public health programs or manufacturer discounts.
TO CONTINUE READING: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/health/opioids-naloxone-surgeon-general.html?emc=edit_th_180406&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=357473340406