March 30, 2023
Overdose reversal drug now available without a prescription
MOBILE, Ala. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday that the makers of Narcan, an opioid overdose treatment, have the agency’s approval to make the drug widely available over the counter (OTC).
Narcan is the brand name of the drug naloxone, a fast-acting overdose reversal. Until now, availability varied by state – typically restricted to licensed health care providers, approved opioid overdose programs, and first responders. This is an important consideration for rural counties, given that research shows that these areas are nearly three times more likely than metropolitan counties to be a low-dispensing county for naloxone.
“This is a great opportunity to get life-saving products out to the lowest level in the community to address opioid overdose without a prescription,” said Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. “Manufacturers are working with Food and Drug administration to appropriately label for over-the-counter use to be purchased as such at local pharmacies.
“Jefferson County Health Department continues to provide training and Narcan products to Alabama residents. We also have standing orders for allowing concerned family members or individuals to get Narcan/Naloxone at a local pharmacy without a prescription.”
Additional information about the distribution of Narcan can be found on the Mobile County Health Department’s news smartphone app called “My MCHD Health Check.” The following message can be found under the “MORE” section of the app:
“What is Narcan? Narcan is a medication that is used for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. Narcan is now available over the counter without a prescription, prices may vary. You can receive free Narcan via USPS mail by visiting this link (https://www.jcdh.org/SitePages/Programs-Services/CommunityHealth/SubstanceUseAndAddiction/NaloxoneTraining.aspx) to view a simple training video from our external partner – The Jefferson County Health Department (JCHD). After viewing the training video, the trainee will receive a certificate of completion and 2 doses of Narcan by mail.”
The MCHD app is available for download for free in the App Store and Google Play. Search “My MCHD Health Check” or click the following link to download the app — https://apps.myocv.com/share/a65536603.
To learn more about MCHD’s Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program, call 251-410-OD2A (6322). OD2A focuses on the complex and changing nature of the drug overdose epidemic. It highlights the need for an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and cohesive public health approach.