Surgeon General: More people need access to opioid OD antidote

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"An easy to use, lifesaving medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose".

Speaking at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta on the morning of April 5, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams issued his office's first national public health advisory in 13 years.

Naloxone, which can be delivered via nasal mist or injection, isn't a long-term solution, the advisory said.

The HEAL plan will fund new imaging technology to identify new targets to treat chronic pain, study genetic and social factors that increase the risk of opioid abuse and addiction, pursue public-private partnerships to develop non-addictive pain medication, and provide more funding for clinical trials to develop new non-addictive pain medications.

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Officers are in schools in several local districts, including the Omaha Public Schools, Westside Community Schools, Millard Public Schools and Elkhorn Public Schools.

Adams said Thursday that community members, family and friends of people using opioids, and individuals using the drugs themselves, can help too.

According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids doubled from 21,089 in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016.

More than 64,000 people died of drug overdose in 2016 in the United States, with the sharpest increase among deaths related to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is often mixed with heroin. Nebraska pharmacies can dispense naloxone without a prescription, said Joni Cover, CEO of the Nebraska Pharmacists Association.

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The company said it's the lowest price available on the market for people without insurance.

Thursday's urging is keeping with the awkward reality that opioid addiction is here to stay, as Americans continue to turn to the drug in droves, with statistics showing more Americans under the age of 50 die each year from opioids than from any other cause, including heart attacks and choking. It is carried on all of the department's ambulances, fire engines and ladder trucks, said Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick.

A handful of the kits have been used, and in at least one case, a life was saved, Gonzalez said.

Mendell praised Adams' call for broader naloxone access, but said there was "more than frustration" with the Trump administration's handling of the opioid problem thus far. Before Thursday's naloxone advisory, one had not been issued since 2005, when then-Surgeon General Richard Carmona warned women about the potential effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. "We take it seriously", Gonzalez said.

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