LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. (KARK) – Many across Arkansas are applauding the recent approval of a live-saving measure as a new step in the war on drugs.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the over-the-counter sale of Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug that will now be sold in stores on the shelves, making it easier for you to get it in times of need.
According to the CDC, hundreds of thousands of people die from opioid drug overdoses each year, and nearly 75% of drug overdose deaths in 2020 involved an opioid.
Dr. Michael Mancino with the University of Arkansas Medical Science believes Narcan being sold in stores is good, saying having it in the hands of the community and not behind the pharmacy counter will create more chances for saving lives.
“I just think it’s important to have as much Narcan out in the community, ” Mancino said.
Samantha Rudd, a mother of an opioid overdose victim herself, said she agrees with Mancino.
Rudd lost her daughter Brittani to addiction in March of 2021, noting she had overdosed a number of times. Narcan helped save her life before, but she didn’t have it during her final overdose.
“So, it goes to show that it’s something that’s always tapping on your shoulder,” Rudd said.
Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley agrees that the more Narcan the better, but he said often time it leads users to think they’re “Superman” because they survived.
“The main thing about Narcan is that it saves lives,” the sheriff said.
Since 2019, the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office has run their Peers Achieving Collaborative Treatment (PACT) program to help change the lives of inmates suffering from drug addiction.
Rudd said she makes her mission to tell her daughter’s story to see a turnaround in lives ruined by opioids.
“If that’s Narcan, if that’s the PACT group, if that’s all the moms or dads going out there, speaking about what happened to them or their child, then it’s worth it to me,” Rudd said.
Mancino said the only issue may be the cost.
“If you get it over the counter, you will have to pay cash out of your pocket for the medication, whereas if you get a prescription or get it from the pharmacist, you can use your insurance to cover the cost,” Mancino explained.
Although the FDA approved Narcan to be sold on the shelves, it won’t be available until the end of the summer.