FDA approves over-the-counter sales of NARCAN; Paramedics say it belongs in every medicine cabinet

The FDA approved the over-the-counter use of Narcan for fentanyl overdoes.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:23 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -It’s a common call to 911. Someone is unresponsive, overdosed.

It can be accidental, a child getting into prescription medication, but more often it’s recreational use of a street drug like heroin or something containing fentanyl.

The call will bring first responders and police or paramedics. The first thing they will reach for is a nasal spray called NARCAN.

Seconds count in emergencies like this and the swift use of NARCAN can make all the difference.

Now, the second or third question that the 911 operator asks will likely be ‘do you have any NARCAN in the house?’ because the FDA’s decision to approve over-the-counter sales makes the medication available to anyone.

Paramedics hope it becomes a common addition to the family medicine cabinet.

“I would recommend it,“ says REMSA clinical supervisor Scott Norman. “It could happen to anybody, even with prescription medication. Somebody could take an extra one by accident and overdose, NARCAN could save their life.”

Administered as a nasal spray, it’s easy and effective, but the 911 operator will remain online to talk you through things until paramedics arrive.

They liken the increased availability of NARCAN to training more of the public in CPR.

Eventually, it makes all of us safer.