The FDA may make an overdose prevention drug over-the-counter. Why does it matter?
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, you can call the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances at 833-234-6343 or text "HELP" to 833234.
The Illinois Department of Public Health counted more than 3,000 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2021, not including the nearly 17,000 non-fatal overdoses that happened in the state that same year. One weapon in the ongoing battle against the epidemic is Naloxone. It’s meant to be an antidote to opioid overdoses, one form of which is NARCAN. Used correctly and given in time, it can reverse overdoses. Pharmacists throughout the state can already provide Naloxone to patients without a prescription thanks to a standing public health order, but last month, a panel of experts with the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously in a non-binding decision to make it available over the counter.
To discuss the opioid epidemic, overdose prevention drugs, and more, The 21st was joined by a panel of healthcare and addiction treatment workers.
Dr. Kate Austman
Double Board-Certified in Family and Addiction Medicine, Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services
Overdose Prevention Coordinator, Egyptian Health Department
Dr. Kurt Bloomstrand
Emergency Department Physician, OSF Healthcare, Urbana | EMS Medical Director, East Central Illinois EMS
Prepared for web by Owen Henderson
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