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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it has given approval for the first hand-held opiate overdose reversal injection to be made available for at-home use. Similar versions of the drug naloxone have been made available to medical and emergency personnel for years, and the increasing number of opiate-related deaths has led to a push for more first responders to be equipped with the injections.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, and when administered to someone overdosing on opiates such as heroin or prescription painkillers, it sends them into immediate withdrawal and can literally save their life. The naloxone device is called Evzio and is distributed by Kaleo, Inc. It is administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously. At a time when drug overdose deaths now outnumber those from automobile accidents, a life-saving product like this shoul be welcomed by many.
According to Bob Rappaport, M.D., director of the Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, “Overdose and death resulting from misuse and abuse of both prescription and illicit opioids has become a major public health concern in the United States.”
To counteract the potential lack of first aid safety knowledge, Evzio actually delivers verbal instructions on how to use it once it is turned on, however it also comes with a training device to learn how to administer the medication.
It should be noted that this injection shouldn’t be “stocked up” and kept on hand as a reason to keep using. While this device will undoubtedly save many lives when used, if people don’t get the help they need to quit abusing drugs, the likelihood of something else happening is pretty severe. The best way to prevent an overdose fatality is to intervene and find an appropriate treatment center.