Surgeon general wants Americans to carry overdose antidote

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U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams called on more Americans to carry naloxone, which is available over the counter in most states. | AP file photo

ATLANTA — The nation’s chief doctor says he is committed to increasing access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone and bringing down the cost of the drug.

Speaking at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta on Thursday morning, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams called on more Americans to carry naloxone, which is available over the counter in most states.

Adams says 95 percent of all insured Americans are covered to purchase naloxone, which can cost around $80 for one dose. For those who are uninsured, he says the antidote is available at little or no cost through local public health programs. He also wants more federal funds dedicated to increasing naloxone access.

Adams says it has been 13 years since a surgeon general last issued a public health advisory. The last one focused on prenatal alcohol exposure.

Naloxone can restore a person’s breathing after it is injected or sprayed in the nostrils, quickly reviving overdose victims.

More than 42,000 Americans suffered fatal opioid overdoses in 2016.


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