Arizonans react to FDA approving over-the-counter-sale of Narcan
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The FDA has approved over-the-counter sales of naloxone, more commonly referred to as Narcan. Pharmacies were already able to sell Narcan without a prescription, but many hope the FDA’s action on Wednesday will further increase accessibility to the opioid treatment drug. “We’ve been fighting to have that for a very long time,” Scottsdale Recovery Center associate clinical director Ayment Demara said.
When Demara heard the news, she considered what this could mean for clients fighting opioid addiction. “It kind of opens the floodgates to having people of all kinds of incomes, ages,” she said. “Whatever we need as far as getting help, it’s available.”
Narcan has traditionally been used to reverse overdoses of opioids such as heroin or fentanyl. People could already get Narcan without a prescription but had to get it directly from a pharmacist. A representative from Melrose Pharmacy in Phoenix told Arizona’s Family that a four-milligram two-pack of Narcan at their pharmacy costs $150 without insurance.
It’s unclear how much Narcan will cost once it’s available over the counter or how much might be covered by insurance. But Cornerstone Healing Center medical assistant Geraldine Rosa says no matter the price, the over-the-counter availability will be worth it. “It’s going to be great for the community because it saves lives,” Rosa said. “We know that Narcan saves lives.”
But while helpful against many opioid overdoses, the Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions President and CEO Dr. Kevin Sabet says increased access to Narcan doesn’t solve the root of the addiction problem. “We’ve got to think a lot bigger,” he said. “First of all, we’ve given out more Narcan than ever before. And yet we have more overdoses than ever before. So that can’t be the only way out.”
Sabet also says the drug isn’t effective against newer drugs like xylazine (Tranc), which has been increasingly mixed with fentanyl. “We need treatment on demand,” Sabet said. “We need a way to get people who don’t want treatment to convince them that they need to get treatment. Because many of them are hurting themselves, their families, and their communities.”
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