WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s being called a life-saving decision. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever over-the-counter version of Narcan. Narcan, which can be given to someone dealing with an opioid overdose, will soon be available to anyone without a prescription.
This means it could be sold at convenience or grocery stores, not just in a pharmacy. The hope is that it would cut down on the 100,000 overdose deaths in the United States each year.
“Now this is a medication that you can go get just like you go pick up your aspirin,” said Aonya Kendrick Barnett, Safe Streets Wichita Program Director.
The FDA approved a nasal spray version of Narcan.
“It’s going to be a little easier, a little more user-friendly,” Barnett said.
The cost and arrival date are not yet known.
Safe Streets Wichita offers free Narcan kits and information regularly. Barnett says they will continue to do that, but this decision brings more options.
“Now we can leave these in vending machines, you know, now we can pick them in targeted areas and use those creative ways that we really can engage with the community,” she said.
Hart Pharmacy in Wichita says they are still waiting for details from the FDA but will be working to get it on their shelves.
“We’re really hoping that, of course, is that it’s extremely affordable for everybody as well because that’s really important when it comes to this,” said Jennifer Chinberg, pharmacist at Hart Pharmacy.
Chinberg adds it should be something everyone considers, “It’s like having an epi-pen for allergic reactions. It’s kind of good just to have Narcan there, just in case you need it.”
Meanwhile, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter believes this is a good thing. He is offering a warning.
“Yes, it’s there to save your life but don’t take advantage of the fact that you think that you know, well, I can do all these drugs now, and this is going to save my life because there have been instances where it has not,” Sheriff Easter said. “We have had individuals here that have overdosed on fentanyl, and it took five doses of Narcan to bring them back.”
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