The Fight Against Fentanyl Takes a New Direction as Narcan Becomes Available Over-the-Counter

The Fight Against Fentanyl Takes a New Direction as Narcan Becomes Available Over-the-Counter

The fight against fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid responsible for a majority of U.S. overdose deaths, is shifting in a new direction. In March, the FDA approved the over-the-counter availability of Narcan, a life-saving drug that can reverse an overdose. Now, pharmacies in Central Florida are stocking Narcan on their shelves, with CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, and Walgreens all carrying the medication for approximately $45.

Advocates believe that Narcan should be a staple in every family’s first-aid kit. Paula Khoenle, who lost her daughter Kaitlyn to fentanyl poisoning, has been on a mission to get Narcan into as many hands as possible. Kaitlyn was found unresponsive with a lethal amount of fentanyl in her system at the age of 28. Today, fentanyl is the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 18 and 45 in the United States.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma highlights the shift in the crisis from Florida’s pill crisis of the last decade to one comprised of substances laced with fentanyl. The DEA reports that fentanyl accounts for 70 percent of U.S. overdose deaths. Sheriff Lemma comments that individuals who experiment or use drugs for the first time are unknowingly consuming fentanyl-laced substances.

Increased education and access to Narcan have resulted in positive outcomes. Citizens are now deploying naloxone (the generic name for Narcan) to reverse opioid overdoses. In Seminole County, deputies have administered Narcan 90 times since January. Experts at the Orlando Outpatient Center compare Narcan to an automated external defibrillator (AED) used during heart failures. Narcan is used to “jumpstart” the body and is a safe and easy-to-use medication.

In the fight against fentanyl, increased availability of Narcan over-the-counter is a step towards saving lives.
– Fentanyl: A synthetic opioid that is significantly more potent than morphine and is often implicated in overdose deaths.
– Narcan: The brand name for naloxone, a medication used for the emergency treatment of opioid overdoses.
– Investigators find 28 pounds of fentanyl pills in parked car; suspect arrested
– Top health officials urge community members to carry Narcan as access increases nationwide
– Deputies identify 78-year-old Volusia County man accused of killing neighbor who was trimming trees
– Orlando Outpatient Center

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