Save a Life. Narcan Becomes Over-the-Counter Soon in Montana
Access to the rapid-acting opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (trade name Narcan) is about to become much simpler to get in the Treasure State. Federal regulators approved the drug for over-the-counter sales back in March and according to Axios, the rollout across the nation is set to begin next week.
Montanas will soon be able to purchase the life-saving drug without a prescription at retailers such as Walmart, Walgreens, and RiteAid. The report doesn't mention CVS, but we can assume they'll likely carry the product too.
Readily available Narcan is good for Montana.
Last summer, Montana experienced a string of back-to-back fentanyl overdoses. Eight people died in the span of a week. The overdoses were scattered throughout the state. Montana Department of Health and Human Services wrote,
These fatalities occurred in Cascade, Custer, Gallatin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, and Yellowstone counties and involved individuals aged 24 to 60 years old.
The problem isn't going away, with law enforcement officials reporting mind-numbing increases in the amount of fentanyl being intercepted in our state. the DPHHS report noted that,
Counterfeit pills containing fentanyl are becoming increasingly common nationally, and in Montana are taken by people who misuse diverted prescription opioids as well as those who inject, smoke, or snort drugs.
Drug abuse happens everywhere in Montana and in many counties, residents may be 30 minutes or more from an ambulance or first responders. In rural areas, the local sheriff might not arrive until it's far too late to administer Narcan. Cops, fire departments, and EMTs all carry the overdose antidote.
OPINION: Should everyone in Montana have Narcan on hand?
Frankly, why not? What if your "good kid" teenager takes some random pills at a party and overdoses? What if a friend or relative gets hooked on prescription pain pills and suddenly can't get them anymore? Many times, addicts will find what they need on the black market, where fentanyl is showing up in everything from counterfeit oxy and fake lorazepam to cocaine and MDMA. Easy access to $45 twin packs of the nasal spray Narcan at drugstores and pharmacies across Montana, with no prescription needed, will surely help save lives.