Overdose-Prevention Drug Narcan to be Sold Over the Counter
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved selling the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, over the counter.
Narcan is a life-saving drug that can prevent death in a person who has overdosed on opioids. It comes in the form of a nasal spray, and temporarily reverses the effects of opiates in the brain and on the body.
It’s expected that over-the-counter sales could happen as soon as summer.
“This is a great step forward with making Narcan mainstream,” says Cow Creek Behavioral Health Manager Josh Mabray. “It’s a life-saving device that is now easier to access.”
With overdoses as a leading cause of death in Oregon, Cow Creek Behavioral Health has actively worked to increase awareness about Narcan and the importance of having it easily available. Last summer, counselors attended Pow Wow at South Umpqua Falls, talking with Tribal members and showing them how to use Narcan in an emergency. Mabray says they will be back at Pow Wow this summer to provide the same education.
Narcan is available for Tribal citizens at all Cow Creek Health and Wellness locations.
Behavioral Health Chemical Dependency Counselor and Cow Creek Tribal member Jesse Spain has advocated for Narcan to be available as a first-aid device on all Tribal properties. He says when someone exhibits signs of an overdose, using Narcan on them cannot cause harm.
“The first thing you do is call 911. The second thing you do: Narcan. It can’t hurt,” says Spain.
The Oregon Health Authority also includes Narcan as part of a Fentanyl and Opioid Response Toolkit for all of Oregon Schools.
“It is important to note that if naloxone is mistakenly given to someone not actually experiencing an opioid overdose, it will not harm them. There is no potential for addiction or other misuse of naloxone. With naloxone as part of an emergency protocol, school staff can quickly administer and prevent opioid overdose deaths,” OHA authorities stated in a December 2022 letter to parents.