Every year, more than 100,000 Americans die from drug overdoses, and a majority of them involve the use of opioids. To combat the rapidly increasing number of overdoses and nationwide opioid crisis, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized Narcan, a prescribed nasal spray that blocks and reverses opioid’s harm to the brain, to be sold over the counter. This summer, supermarkets, gas stations and online retailers across the nation will start selling the drug.
While Narcan’s accessibility is increasing, the affordability of Narcan poses a concern. Currently, a pharmacy charges between $40 and $100 to fill a prescription of Narcan. While the over-the-counter version of Narcan has not been priced yet, health experts say that its cost will probably prevent many people from accessing the life-saving drug.
To increase accessibility and save lives, health and government officials are fighting to set a low price for Narcan when it is released over the counter.
“We’ve got to make sure that these life-saving medications, as well as treatment, is accessible across no matter where you live — rural or urban, rich or poor,” said Nabarun Dasgupta, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy in an interview with CNN.
Some organizations fighting against overdose already offer free Narcan. The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance offers two free doses of Narcan for all Washington residents and End Overdose, a non-profit organization, offers free overdose training, which consists of learning how to recognize an overdose and administer aid. They also offer free doses of Narcan to whoever signs up.
As fatal drug overdoses can unexpectedly occur, Narcan is a necessity that warrants affordability and accessibility for every home, workplace and public area.