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Surgeon General Praises Kentucky's Opioid Efforts, Urges Widespread Use of Narcan

Surgeon General Praises Kentucky's Opioid Efforts, Urges Widespread Use of Narcan

Naloxone, a medication carried by many first responders such as EMTs and police officers, is being recommended to be carried by more people who know of families and friends at risk of overdosing.

But Hill said that approach often has the unintended effect of increasing sales of smaller and more potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which increases the likelihood of overdosing.

According to federal data, more than 42,000 Americans suffered fatal opioid overdoses in 2016, more than double the number who died in 2010.

The advisory emphasizes the importance of persons having naloxone on hand for patients now taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain, individuals misusing prescription opioids, individuals using illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose.

Naloxone can restore a person's breathing after it is injected or sprayed in the nostrils, quickly bringing overdose victims back from near-death.

Adams said 95 percent of all insured Americans are covered to purchase naloxone.

Thousands of lives will be saved thanks to Ohio-based healthcare company Cardinal Health's donation of more than 80,000 doses of Narcan (naloxone HCI) Nasal Spray to first responders and law enforcement agencies across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. Generic, injectable versions of naloxone are cheaper.

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Adams' visit to Northern Kentucky included a naloxone demonstration, as well as a tour of the Kentucky Department of Public Health's Mobile Pharmacy Harm Reduction Unit, which trains Kentuckians how to identify and treat overdoses.

New Jersey Pharmacists Association CEO Elise M. Barry said the association applauds the Surgeon General's recommendation and hopes to see the number of pharmacists in New Jersey that provide naloxone increase and expand access to residents.

Gov. Paul LePage wrote, "Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose. only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction".

Another complication of the opioid crisis is the related health issues that are a product of addiction.

"We want to connect people to treatment; we don't want to keep just resuscitating them".

Adams disagrees, stating, "There are people out there who think naloxone doesn't make a difference: you're just going to go on and misuse substances again". He also supports expanding harm reduction clinics, such as needle exchange programs.

The last surgeon general advisory was issued in 2005 to warn pregnant women about the dangers of alcohol use.


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