| abuse

Surgeon General: Make Naloxone Widely Available

New HHS Advisory Recommends Distribution Beyond First Responders and Clinicians

Last week, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, issued an advisory advocating for greater distribution and availability of naloxone as an element of the national response to opioid use disorder. The Surgeon General recommends that individuals at risk for opioid overdose, as well as their family members and friends, should have the medication readily available. In the advisory, Dr. Adams noted that naloxone is only one component of a comprehensive response to the crisis of overdose fatality, observing that “To manage opioid addiction and prevent future overdoses, increased naloxone availability must occur in conjunction with expanded access to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder.”

Naloxone is currently available without a prescription in most states, and most jurisdictions have enacted “Good Samaritan” legislation to protect healthcare professionals, first responders, and the general public from civil and criminal liability arising from its administration in an overdose emergency. HHS notes that expanded availability and use of naloxone needs to be incorporated into a comprehensive program of medication assisted treatment, including medication, counseling, and behavioral therapy in order to achieve a lasting impact on the opioid abuse crisis. 

Read a press release from the US Department of Health and Human Services on the new advisory.