Lifesaving drug now available in stores

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 5:59 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A drug that can reverse opioid overdoses is now available without a prescription.

Narcan is a nasal spray version of naloxone, and it will now be sold over the counter at different pharmacies.

Pharmacist Mackenzie Reinhart credits the Food and Drug Administration’s decision in March to approve over-the-counter sales.

“Since now that we have seen an increase in opioid deaths, the FDA has pushed the manufacturer to be sold over the counter, and now that is what they are doing,” Reinhart said.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, overdoses killed 487 people in 2022, with high numbers reported in Northeast Arkansas.

The image below shows drug overdose death rates in each county per 100,000 people:

a map showing the overdose rates from counties in Arkansas.
a map showing the overdose rates from counties in Arkansas.(KAIT)

This is why Reinhart says it is so important that people can always have Narcan on them.

“It is really great as far as accessibility goes that everyone has access to this product. You never know what is going to happen on the street out there or even in your own home,” Reinhart said.

When it comes to opioids, Reinhart said the big killer they are trying to stop is fentanyl.

“We have heard a lot about fentanyl recently, and the hope is that as we gain access to it, we could decrease those deaths,” Reinhart said.

The drug will start hitting the shelves this month at places like CVS, Rite-Aid, and other local pharmacies.