How officials say over-the-counter Narcan is going to save lives locally
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - When you look at the number of overdose deaths across the country, you get a better picture of how badly the epidemic has developed.
Just over 20 years of age, less than 20,000 people died from an overdose. That doubled just 10 years later. More than doubling again in 2021 with more than 105,000.
The FDA approved the life-saving overdose medicine Narcan for use without a prescription. Here’s how the decision can save lives.
It’s been available in drug stores for years.
“The most important thing is that the patients have it when they need it,” said Augusta University Pharmacist Brent Lake.
But not without a prescription.
William Loomer is a sergeant with the Grovetown Police Department.
He said, “If you hit that overdose point, you know, and this person is, you know, turning blue. They’re gurgling or they stopped breathing, we’re talking seconds or minutes. We don’t have time to run to the pharmacy.”
But now it’s about to get a lot easier to get your hands on this life-saving drug. Loomer knows the importance of having naloxone on deck.
“On the successful applications that I’ve seen in my career so far, that’s after it’s taken us, whether it’s two minutes, three minutes, 10 minutes to get somewhere. But if that naloxone can be there within seconds. I mean, you can only imagine the increase in successful applications, and the amount of lives saved can surely go up,” he said.
While doctors are excited about it, unknowns of cost, dosage, and if it will be successful remain.
Lake said: “It’s a really tough question. I don’t quite know how it’s gonna play out. And the reason is, is because although it is over the counter, it’s still gonna have a cost.”
Loomer says no matter the cost, when seconds count, you do not want to be without it.
“You could have some as a last resort type thing. You could have it in your house, If you have somebody you’re concerned about you know, maybe has a substance abuse issue, or you have a child who you know, is maybe experimenting with substances, you could have that naloxone in your house,” said Loomer.
There are still some questions about how many steps before this is official. The pharmacist and law enforcement told us there are some steps for state approval as well.
The FDA hopes this could be on shelves by late summer.
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