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I have Narcan in my house. Now you can, too.

“Do you know where I can get Narkan? I did, and by the time she boarded the plane, this mother had three Narcan nasal spray dispensers in her handbag and a quick primer on how to administer them: ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and I put it in with some bandages. she was ready.

In March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Approved naloxone nasal spray Narcan., can be purchased without a prescription. Nasal sprays can reverse an opioid overdose in minutes (Narcan binds to opioid receptors, blocks the effects of opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, or prescription opioids, and prevents overdose). normal breathing can be restored quickly). . The nasal spray can now be sold directly to consumers online as well as in locations such as drugstores, convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations.

This could not have happened at such an important time.according to provisional data More than 30,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) people US will die from drug overdoses in 2021 compared to 2019, and the total number of deaths will be 100,000+. This coincides with the growing mental health crisis, Increased substance use Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an emergency room physician, mother, and current Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I know these numbers are hard to absorb, but they are all too real. I have seen firsthand the increasing frequency of overdoses and the risk that in some cases recovery medications will not be administered in time. More than a decade ago, working as a new attending physician in a Staten Island ER, I was resuscitating an unintentional heroin overdose and rescuing teens who were experimenting with pills. I tried What I didn’t understand then was how long this epidemic would last and how bad things would get.

Getting naloxone into the hands of parents, teachers, coaches and even young people and keeping it in clubs, hotels and restaurants can save lives. Here’s how to check it. CDC investigation It found that 46 percent of fatal overdoses in 2021 had a bystander, someone who could step in and prevent a person’s death.

As a result, tens of thousands of parents, friends and loved ones were left helplessly waiting for ambulances to arrive, even though they needed life-saving assistance. Not anymore.

The Biden-Harris administration has taken bold steps to prevent and treat drug use disorders at their roots and to keep illegal drugs off the streets.Importantly, last SeptemberAwarded $1.6 billion All states and territories to address the addiction and opioid crisis.

However, there is still a long way to go. Overdose epidemics have left parts of the country untouched. Since 2000, More than 1 million lives have been lost due to overdose. Millions of people continue to struggle with the diseases that cause drug use despite the negative effects. And for every life lost, for every person with a drug use disorder, tens of millions more struggle as family and friends.

As a mother of teenage children, I care more than keeping them safe. Over-the-counter naloxone makes that possible. As an emergency physician, I understand how many lives can be saved simply by having Narcan available when needed. But our medical interventions are just as effective as the policies that reach those who need them. With this decision, policy has reached that very moment. It’s time for all of us—parents, siblings, community members, and friends—to understand the opportunities in front of us and arm ourselves with this simple tool that can literally save lives.

We recommend that you consult or visit your local pharmacist, health care provider for more information. https://www.hhs.gov/overdose prevention/.

Dr. Dara Kass, Regional Director for Region 2 of the Department of the United States.Health and Human Services — Serving New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized tribal nations.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material.

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