The Food and Drug Administration announced a new requirement for drugmakers to help inform consumers about naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that helps reverse opioid and other drug overdoses. The new rule means that every prescription drug containing opioids will now include information about naloxone.
The naloxone notice is just one small thing that they’re hoping will help people stay alive during the pandemic. People who are abusing opioids may not be aware that it’s an option. Many people are isolated from other drug users and staying home during the pandemic.
Overdoses Are Increasing During Pandemic
Drug overdoses are multiplying quickly during the age of COVID-19, and numbers of deaths were higher than ever in 2019 before the pandemic even touched American lives.
Public health officials have warned the public and doctors to expect significant increases in “deaths of despair.” Unemployment, drug addiction, lack of addiction treatment, or lack of healthcare can all cause more suicides or accidental deaths.
Many cities and counties across America have begun to offer telehealth visits for addiction and mental health services. However, the people who aren’t ready to get clean and sober need to stay alive long enough to get help.
Naloxone Keeps People Alive
Experts are now looking to reduce harms on all levels. Officials hope that people who may accidentally overdose will soon pick up Narcan at their pharmacy when they pick up an opioid prescription.
“Today’s action can help further raise awareness about this potentially life-saving treatment for individuals that may be at greater risk of an overdose and those in the community most likely to observe an overdose,” Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, told the media.
Naloxone can help safely to revive people from opioid overdoses. It has been used since the ’70s, but only in the past five years or so has it been available to consumers as an overdose kit. It can be inhaled or injected. People who have overdosed on drugs like fentanyl or morphine may need multiple doses to reverse the overdose.
Telehealth Fills Other Gaps
Many addiction treatment centers and mental health programs shuttered during the pandemic. However, as time goes on, they’ve begun to pivot towards running their therapy online. Telehealth can now be used to fill a gap for people who need treatment but have trouble getting into on-site programs.
Some counties in the midwest, for example, offer “sober buddies” available throughout the day for a free, confidential talk session.