As the opioid epidemic continues and the number of overdose deaths climbs, naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug also known by the brand name Narcan, has become even more important. While it’s not a treatment for opioid addiction, naloxone has the ability to bring individuals experiencing an overdose back from the brink of death. Because of its life-saving abilities, public health leaders agree it is essential that naloxone remain widely accessible to medical centers, first responders and private citizens.
The opioid crisis in the U.S. is on the rise, with deaths from prescription opioids quadrupling since 1999. In 2013, more than 16,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in the U.S., and almost 2 million misused or were dependent on opioids. Roughly 700,000 emergency room visits related to opioid misuse occurred in 2011.
Certain populations, especially individuals involved in the criminal justice system, are particularly vulnerable to opioid overdose. While this paints a bleak picture, recent medical and scientific developments point to a reason for hope in reversing this overdose trend.
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