August 09, 2019
Experts say there’s a strong correlation between an increase in the use of an opioid antidote and a decrease in drug overdose deaths.
Prescriptions for naloxone, also known as Narcan, have increased across the United States and in Maine since 2016, while drug overdose deaths started to decline for the first time in 2018.
Naloxone is most commonly used as a nasal spray to revive patients who have overdosed on opioids.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in Narcan in Maine and nationally,” Kenneth McCall, BSPharm, Pharm.D., professor and residency director at the College of Pharmacy, told the Portland Press Herald. “Just a few years ago, the product was only available in the hospital or ambulance as an injectable.”
Last year naloxone became available for purchase without a doctor’s prescription at pharmacies across Maine.
McCall is now serving as a member on Governor Janet Mills’ Opioid Response Clinical Advisory Committee.