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Independence pharmacy hopes FDA's ruling on Narcan slows down overdoses

FDA ruled Narcan can now be sold over-the-counter
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Posted at 7:04 PM, Aug 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 20:04:15-04

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Opioid overdoses antidote Narcan will be available for over-the-counter purchases next week.

The Food and Drug Administration announced their decision to approve this earlier this year.

Demand has obviously picked up as it’s become more prevalent in the news, people are aware of its existence, people are aware of the need for it because of the opioid overdoses that we’re seeing,” said Paul Hess, a staff pharmacist at Stadium Pharmacy.

Hess says until now, a Missouri standing order allowed him to give out Narcan on a need basis. But he hopes the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to make it over the counter will help him reach even more people.

“There are gonna be a number of instances where we can help people whether it’s legal drug or an illegal drug, or it’s intentional or unintentional," Hess said. "It’s just gonna give us an opportunity to help intervene."

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, more than 2,000 lives were taken in the state by overdose in 2021. And across state line in Kansas, that number was nearly 700.

To Andy Burris, who lost his 15-year-old son Cruz to fentanyl poisoning, those statistics feel personal. Cruz bought what he thought was Percocet from a predator online.

“Our son Cruz Burris will be forever 15,” Burris said.

KSHB 41 asked him about his thoughts on the wide availability of Narcan.

“I don’t want children and I don’t want drug addicts to believe it’s a safety net or have a false sense of security, because if that’s the case, it’s being abused," Burris said. "But I believe it’s a good thing to be there in the event that there was an actual emergency."

Burris says in order to focus on total prevention, drug education needs to be top of mind for schools. In the meantime, healthcare providers like Hess are happy to know he is a part of the solution.

“It’s just gonna give us an opportunity to help intervene and save lives,” said Hess.