ALABAMA (WHNT) – Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is used to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose may soon be available for purchase over the counter across the United States.
The Alabama Medical Association and its members are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to increase access to the sorely needed lifesaving drug.
Preston Lamb of Guntersville says he lost his friend to an overdose who suffered while waiting for the ambulance to arrive with Narcan.
“I wish I was able to have Narcan because I was trying to help a friend,” Lamb told News 19. “He died in my arms, and I keep his memory on my person at all times as a legacy.”
Lamb says he watched his friend lose his life.
The hard experience of Lamb and others is the main reason why health experts in the state of Alabama are making a strong push for the FDA to make Narcan available to everyone, instead of through authorized professionals only.
“Obtaining Narcan from the local pharmacy that’s not available right now because the federal designation still has it where it requires a prescription,” explained Dr. Julia Boothe, President of the AMA. “That’s what we are trying to change the availability.”
Boothe, while noting the recent climb in opioid-related overdoses and the sharp rise in death associated with fentanyl, has led the efforts to reverse overdose fatalities. On February 15 an FDA panel unanimously voted to recommend the administration approve over-the-counter selling of Naloxone in other states, which would widen the platform for additional retailers to sell the life-saving drug.
“Our first responders can have Narcan in the state of Alabama, and not just your medical first responders but your police and firefighters also but there’s been some individual acts and things that allow for that,” said Boothe.
The AMA says approving Narcan for sale is an important first step in saving lives so that people who overdose can have a chance to be in recovery.
The FDA is expected to vote on March 29 on Narcan availability.