AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — The FDA is considering making a key overdose reversal drug available over the counter. Advocates say it could increase access. Walking Tall Ministries serves about 600 people in drug recovery per month. While they say the move by the FDA is a great first step, they have concerns.
“Do people know how to use it? The availability when it goes on the shelves will places like us and the Sheriff’s Department, will there still be availability of Narcan?” Walking Tall Ministries Zach Moyer.
Since the ’70s, Naloxone has been available in injectable form. Naloxone nasal spray, or Narcan, was given the green light by the FDA in 2015.
“We do have times when we arrive on scenes that some of the first responders there, whoever they may be, are not equipped with Narcan. And obviously, in those cases, we’re very glad that we have the ability to have those tools,” Moyer added.
Naloxone blocks the effects of opiates on the brain and helps an overdose victim start breathing again. The effects of Narcan last for 30 to 90 minutes in the body. “There’s a proper way to use Narcan. People can actually drown if they’re not put in the right position when they get sick from the overdose,” he said.
Some opioids stay longer. You might need more than one dose of Narcan for those. “The person can go back into the withdrawals and are they aware of that? Is there another Narcan? Did they call 9 1 1 to to help with this? Or did they just do the Narcan and then the person goes back into the overdose, there’s no more and the person is found deceased?” he added.
Medicaid and many insurance plans also cover some of the costs of the medication. “If Narcan candidates are given the proper instructions and as a tool, it could be very useful to the communities that are suffering with the great numbers of addicts and fentanyl use that we see in our community,” Zoyer said.
Meanwhile, the FDA is expected to make its decision by the end of March.