FDA Approves Narcan for Over-The-Counter Sale


HYANNIS – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the opioid overdose-treatment drug Narcan for over-the-counter sale, a move receiving applause by local advocates with the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod. 

CEO of the organization Dan Gates said the initiative will make a big difference for those struggling with opioid addiction, but some hurdles remain for those who need it most.

“There will be a cost associated with Narcan from stores. That cost could be a barrier for folks. Luckily in Massachusetts we have many programs that provide harm-reduction services which include access to free Narcan,” said Gates.

Other administrative hurdles remain before the drug ends up on shelves, but Gates said the move would be a big step towards expanding help for those suffering from opioid addiction. 

“The opioid epidemic is not limited to just people who are using drugs, but it’s also their social networks, their families, and their friends. So many of us would benefit from carrying Narcan in case we come across an overdose, whether that’s by a loved ones, a friend, or even just at a local business.”

He added that fentanyl—a synthetic opioid on the rise—has an even smaller overdose window, emphasizing the need for readily accessible Narcan by those other than the drug user who can quickly lose consciousness in such an event. 

The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod also provides mobile harm prevention services as well as training, which includes providing Narcan and referrals to longer-term treatment options. 

According to the CDC, over 100,000 individuals died from fatal overdoses in the 12-month period ending October 2021. 

Narcan could be on shelves as soon as late summer, said drug manufacturer Emergent Biosolutions Inc.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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