Narcan to become more available in Blue Ridge Health District

Narcan has already been a resource in the Blue Ridge Health District, though the FDA's approval will increase the accessibility to the drug.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 2:33 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan sales over-the-counter Wednesday, ultimately increasing the drug’s availability across the country. Narcan has already been a resource in the Blue Ridge Health District, though this approval will increase the accessibility to the drug.

The FDA’s approval of over-the-counter Narcan has the potential to reduce overdoses in the Commonwealth.

The Blue Ridge Health District says it has seen a steady increase in opioid overdose deaths in recent years, and this change brings some hope to bring those numbers back down.

“Part of the impact of approving it as an over-the-counter medicine is gonna really help to destigmatize use of Narcan,” said Region Ten’s Community Mental Health and Wellness coalition director Rebecca Kendall.

BRHD saw a 78% increase in drug overdose deaths from 2017 to 2021, and 78% of that was due to synthetic opioids. Though Narcan can be used for more than just illegal drugs, as it has the ability to reduce any sort of drug overdose, which could come from a prescription too.

“It can’t hurt people, and it needs to be widely available. I think that the FDA approval really sends that message to community members that might have been skeptical or concerned about what it is,” Kendall said.

Region Ten and BRHD hand out Narcan to people in need for free, and both plan to continue that service, as Narcan may get pricey over the counter. It should be available in pharmacies in a few months.

“We’re hoping to continue to monitor that to see how we can best use our services to fill whatever gap this will create and people being able to access that,” Norman Dorise with BRHD said.

BRHD holds a drive thru Narcan day every third Monday of the month, where it hands out Narcan to those in need. Attendees will receive one box of Narcan, which includes two doses. It, as well as Region Ten hold community trainings on how to use Narcan in emergencies. These sessions teach anyone how to use the medicine, in case you are ever around someone experiencing an overdose.

If you want to find out more about these events, click here.

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