St. Joseph Co. Dept. of Health reacts to FDA decision to approve over-the-counter Narcan

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 11:33 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The FDA recently approved an over-the-counter version of Narcan — a drug to help people who overdose.

Health officials in Michiana say they hope this will help save more lives. They also say they have seen overdose fatalities begin to shift, with more recreational users dying.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the St. Joseph County Department of Health say new overdose deaths involving opioids have increased in the last three years.

With drug overdoses being the leading cause of accidental deaths, health officials are acting.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved selling naloxone without a prescription. It is the first opioid treatment drug to be sold over the counter.

Health officials call it “a big win”

“I see it as a win. Any time we increase that access to more people, but then also still being mindful, we are still really in the midst of things. Hopefully we can control fatality,” says Robin Vida with the St. Joseph County Department of Health.

While pharmacies will charge you, community centers and health departments often hand out Narcan for free.

“I always worry about cost. I think it’s also important to highlight that there are adequate spaces to get free Narcan as well,” Vida says.

The over-the-counter version of Narcan is expected to be on store shelves this summer.

“And then more importantly I think we have the ability to connect individuals to treatment who do want to recover from a substance use disorder...Again it’s an emergency medication. I know there are some folks that say it’s a great tool in the toolbox. I say that,” Vida says.

According to some reports, it is still unclear how many stores will carry it.

Health officials also want to make sure people know how to properly use Narcan. They recommend watching a 30 second YouTube video.