JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – On average, 91 people die every day from an opioid overdose in the United States.
Tennessee experienced 1,451 drug overdose deaths in 2015, in which almost 72% involved opioids – a 13.8% increase from the year prior.
Doctors write more than 280 million opioid prescriptions a year. Experts say that’s one for almost every man woman and child in the United States.
In 2015, health care professionals in Tennessee wrote more than 7.8 million opioid prescriptions. That’s more prescriptions than people, placing Tennessee second in the nation for opioid prescriptions.
The only tool available today to combat these this crisis and prevent deaths is naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.
Thom Duddy, who is the Executive Director of Communications for Adapt Pharma said NARCAN Nasal Spray is the first and only FDA-approved, ready-to-use nasal formulation of naloxone and that the nasal spray is the simplest form of delivery of naloxone.
“Most overdoses are happening in the home or in the community where EMS or first responders are not readily available right away. We have designed a product, we collaborated with the national Institute for drug abuse to come up with a product that people like you or me that are not medically trained could deploy or give someone,” Duddy said.
Law enforcement is one of the fasted growing subsets to carry naloxone.
Most EMS workers are already carrying some form of naloxone.
In Virginia, legislation has been passed so that if you get a prescription for an opioid over a certain milligram you automatically get a prescription of naloxone.
The passage of Public Chapter 596 allows authorized pharmacists statewide to dispense naloxone without a prescription.
House Bill 448, which is currently heading to the House, would require the State’s Board of Education to set up guidelines for naloxone in schools.
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