An Anti-Overdose Drug

Maia Szalavitz flags new study on naloxone, a drug used to treat opiate overdoses. Szalavitz notes that distributing “naloxone and training people to use it can cut the death rates from overdose nearly in half.” But naloxone isn’t easily avaliable:

Advocates have argued that the medication should be made available over-the-counter since it has little potential for abuse and is nontoxic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and even the drug czar’s office support making it more widely available, and unlike the case with needle exchange programs, there has been no organized opposition to [Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) programs]. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no precedent for allowing over-the-counter sales of such a drug: naloxone is a generic medication approved in an injectable form. Without a company to submit an application for its use in the intranasal version, the agency isn’t likely to OK over-the-counter sales.