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Overdose Drug: Helps Addicts or Enables Addiction?

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The Federal Drug Administration held a meeting a few months ago to discuss the availability of a drug called naloxone (Narcan). Many people in the FDA are encouraged by research that highlights the drug’s ability to potentially reduce the number of prescription drug overdoses by up to 50%. They are beginning to have discussions about making the drug available to individuals over-the-counter. Could this drug potentially help save lives or enable drug addicts to continue using knowing they have a safety net?

Overdose Drug Stop Deaths?

Every single year, more than 15,000 Americans die from overdosing on prescription drugs. More people die from prescription drug overdoses than car accidents. You would think that the invention of a drug that could help dramatically reduce the number of deaths suffered from prescription drugs would merit mentioning in the nightly news report. However, you would be mistaken. At the hearing, many different individuals who have been affected by prescription drug overdoses testified. They had all suffered the loss of loved ones to prescription drugs, and they wanted to know why they had not heard of Naloxone, which could have saved their loved ones, before.

FDA Hearing

During the hearing, there were very few experts who testified that they thought the drug should not be sold over the counter to the general public. These individuals said that they did not think that the public would be able to handle the drug safely. However, since 1996, there have been a total of 10,000 successful overdose recoveries by people who were given access to naloxone. There are now many people in the medical community who are looking at these figures and scratching their heads about why the government doesn’t seem to want to make it more readily available to the general public.

Most of the governmental authorities who are not for the wide distribution of this drug claim that they want people to have it, but only if they go to rehabilitation. They argue that a person will continue with the current, destructive lifestyle if they are given a pill that can save them from overdosing. Addiction is a neurological issue and needs to be treated as such. Whether the drug hits the market on a wider scale or not, there will continue to be the debate that this new drug would provide a quick fix that could potentially harm addicts by enabling them to continue their drug use or save lives and get more people into an addiction treatment center.


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