BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — An overdose-reversing drug will soon be available over the counter, as the FDA approved Narcan to be sold over the counter Wednesday.
The antidote is two four-milligram doses of nasal spray. It works only if someone has opioids in their system by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain and restoring breathing.
Jefferson County health officer Dr. Mark Wilson says having it available over the counter is good but raises concerns like how much it will cost and which pharmacies will sell it.
He also says people may feel uncomfortable picking up Narcan from a pharmacy.
“In Alabama, we’ve had the ability for people to get Narcan from prescription in a couple of ways; one is through a standing order from the state health officer through a participating pharmacist to sell it without someone having to present them with a prescription, but we have only gotten spotty participation,” Wilson said.
Jefferson County Health Department has made Narcan available for people after they take a training course on its website.
Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway says the FDA approving the opioid overdose antidote Narcan over the counter is good news, as it allows deputies to help people who have overdosed on an opioid.
“We go to those same environments where those individuals have overdosed, and if something happens to my deputy, we need to make sure we can revive them; if we’re not able to help ourselves, then we cannot help you,” Pettway said.
There is currently no announced date for when Narcan will be available over the counter in stores.