New Drug Counteracts Heroin, Gives New Hope

SPRINGFIELD, MO -- Saving a life with a simple injection. Medical professionals have helped revive heroin addicts for a long time with an injection of a drug commonly called Narcan. Now more people will have the power to save lives. With one announcement in the last 24 hours, the Federal Drug Administration has given the friends and family of addicts hope.

In the last few years in Pulaski County heroin has caused hundreds of overdoses, dozens of deaths.

"He just had his 25th birthday in July and died in September," said Gary Carmack.

We interviewed Carmack, the Pulaski County Ambulance District administrator, in February about the death of his son James in the fall of 2013.

"What heroin does and the opiates they put your brain to sleep and so you just forget to breathe and your blood pressure drops and your heart rate drops and if that goes on long enough you die." explained Carmack.

One of the biggest frustrations for Carmack aside from James' addiction, had he known his son was in distress the ability to save him was at his fingertips.

"We carry a drug Nolaxone which is commonly called Narcan, and I've used this medication. We've had it in our drug box, I've used it since the 70's as a paramedic. Never dreamed I would be thinking about with my child," Carmack said.

After James' death Carmack wanted to put Narcan in the hands of average people where before it was only available to medical workers and first responders.

This week, the FDA announced approval of Evzio a version of Narcan available by prescription.

"The FDA approved this hand held device that's intended for non-medical professionals to administer on the scene. It's a pre-loaded syringe and a hand held device that is auto-injected," Barks said.

Most importantly, Barks says, this auto-inject drug, available by prescription saves precious time.

"This puts it in the hands of family members and care givers," said Barks.

Evzio actually gives verbal instructions about how to administer it once it is turned on. Exactly what the cost will be has not been determined. CLICK HERE to learn more about the FDA announcement.

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