FDA announces push for Naloxone to be available over-the-counter

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 5:38 AM CST
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) - The Food and Drug Administration considers plans to make the overdose-reversing drug, Narcan, more accessible.

“We were unaware of his opioid addiction. We thought we were dealing with minor drinking,” said Beverly Pomering, a mom who lost her son to the opioid epidemic and is the founder of LIVE Real Foundation.

For Beverly, being a part of the opioid crisis conversation is how she hopes she too can be a saving grace for others, that she wished her son had.

“I personally feel the pain of that every day because I lost my son three and a half years ago to fentanyl,” expresses Beverly.

Since losing her 20-year-old son Alex, Beverly believes if he had Narcan he would still be alive today.

“My son thought he was doing heroin that night and there was no heroin in his blood tox,” said Pomering.

Narcan is a drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. The ones being given away are nasal sprays. Narcan is offered by police and vending machines as a way to combat opioid overdose. Now the FDA is discussing a new way to hand over the drug without barriers...over the counter.

“We are seeing a lot of, or the counties seeing a lot of reverse overdoses. The trick is getting it into those high-risk areas,” said Jennifer Muraski who is the Winnebago County Coroner.

Muraski says in 2022 the county saw three accidental overdoses per week. That’s why she believes over-the-counter Narcan could save more lives than it took. However, Pomering disagrees and says this new way to distribute Narcan is not a solution.

“I think the vending machines are a better option than the over-the-counter. Good step just not a solution,” explains Pomering.

She believes officials need to do a better job at figuring out why the drug users search for an escape and discover better solutions for it.

“I think it doesn’t need to just be in businesses and in lobbies and pharmacies and needs to be in every single person’s home. It needs to be in every single person’s pocket,” said Muraski.

Winnebago County estimates up to 170,000 accidental overdoses in 2022, but they’re still waiting on the official report.