Opiate addiction and abuse has been sweeping the nation for over a decade. It has become such an epidemic that it has surpassed car accidents as the number one cause for accidental death in the country. As more and more people die of overdoses every day, politicians at all levels are working hard to curb the issue.
A senator from Virginia, Tim Kaine, has introduced a bill to help prevent overdose deaths in his state by making Naloxone (Narcan) more available to the public. Naloxone is known throughout the country as the “second chance” drug because of its ability to reverse the effects of a deadly opiate overdose. The medication has been around since the 70’s but has become extremely popular due to the epidemic facing the nation. Naloxone is commonly known as Narcan and can be administered by either a shot or a nasal spray. The medication has saved thousands of lives and is the topic of discussion for Senator Tim Kaine’s bill.
The bill he presented is known as the Co-prescribing Saves Lives Act. The bill simply encourages physicians to prescribe naloxone whenever an opioid medication is prescribed. Having the medication readily available in the home will protect people from overdose.
Senator Kaine has done his research when it comes to the tragedies caused by the opiate epidemic. He has had meetings with families who have lost loved ones to an overdose and those who have a loved one that is still fighting their active addiction. He has taken the time to listen to the first responders, the people who arrive first on the scene of an overdose and usually administer Naloxone. He has even spoken with businesses who have been hurt by the opiate epidemic.
“Senator Kaine’s bill is a welcome and much-needed approach to protecting those afflicted with opioid addiction from potential accidental overdose death. It also improves the base of knowledge among physicians about appropriate prescribing of opioid medications and their associated risk. As an impacted parent, I understand intimately the need for both,” said Don Flattery of Fairfax, who lost his son Kevin to opioid abuse.
We are starting to see more and more states taking the initiative to make Naloxone more readily available to the public. It is important to educate the public on how safe this medication is. It has no risk for abuse, if it is administered to someone who is not suffering from an overdose it will do nothing and will not harm them. The medication is full of benefits with little to no dangers.
Some stores are taking part in trying to get the medication out to the public. The chain of pharmacies called CVS sells Naloxone over the counter without a prescription in the following states Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Before long, it is expected to see Naloxone available in all fifty states.