Thank you to Local News Live with Gray DC for including MATTERS’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joshua Lynch, in this discussion on Narcan (naloxone) becoming available as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
From Local News Live (LNL) Gray DC
Naloxone (commonly referred to as brand name Narcan) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an OTC medication. However, that does not mean that Narcan is easily accessible when you enter a pharmacy or other drug store.
“The reality is that the experience will vary depending on the pharmacy that you go to.” says Dr. Lynch. “In some pharmacies, you may be able to walk in and see it on the shelf or on a display. Other pharmacies, you will have to go the pharmacy counter itself and ask for it.”
It is important to note that individuals do not need a prescription to get Narcan at the pharmacy counter. However, in the interview, Dr. Lynch and the news anchors from Local News Live highlight that there is still stigma associated with accessing naloxone.
“Stigma surrounds substance use disorder in all aspects of it, particularly in opioid use disorder.” Dr. Lynch claims. “There are some students that I know that have gone as a way to obtain naloxone at the pharmacy and have been greeted with some stigma [. . .] either with a strange look or a judgmental look when they’ve gone and asked for it. In many cases, they were just asking for it to try and be prepared.”
Narcan nasal spray typically comes in a box with two, 4mg doses of naloxone. “As fentanyl has become more prevalent in the drug supply across the United States, we have seen, at times, patients requiring more than 4mg to start breathing adequately again and to become responsive. It is still important to call 911.”