Millions of people use opioids. Chances are that you or a family member have been prescribed opioids, or that you know someone who has.
Taking opioids leads to an elevated risk of overdosing. That’s true whether you have a prescription, are using an opioid for the first time, or if you’re using an opioid for recreational purposes, resulting in misuse.
Just to stay safe, you should get and learn how to use naloxone.
But don’t just take our word for it. In 2018, Surgeon General Jerome Adams took the very rare step of issuing a public health advisory. His office said that “Expanding the awareness and availability of this medication is a key part of the public health response to the opioid epidemic.”
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration both tell doctors they should prescribing naloxone to patients who take opioids.
Doctors around the country agree and have begun “co-prescribing” naloxone whenever they prescribe an opioid. The Centers for Disease Control have advised doctors co-prescribe it for patients taking a large amount opioids on a regular basis.
Now many states require doctors write prescriptions for naloxone whenever they prescribe an opioid or that they discuss naloxone with patients. At least nine states have some policy in place, with more to come.
Naloxone has become a key emergency response tool, and will continue to become more common.