Surgeon general encourages: Carry naloxone

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The nation's chief doctor wants more Americans to start carrying the overdose antidote naloxone in an effort to combat the nation's opioid crisis.

The majority of those deaths occur at home, so the Surgeon General wants to target families with members who are at a high risk of an overdose or those who are taking prescription opioids for naloxone training. Now, a new study showed the threat of dying from one of those infections has dropped.

Several first responders keep naloxone at hand that is available in the form of a nasal mist or an injection.

"You don't have to be a policeman or a firefighter or a paramedic to save a life", said Adams, who pointed out that more than half of opioid overdose deaths in the US occur at home.

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"Like many states, Washington is in the midst of an opioid epidemic", says Washington's Secretary of Health, John Wiesman. The number of overdose deaths from prescription and illicit drugs has soared in recent years, climbing from 21,089 in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016.

Generic, injectable versions of naloxone are cheaper.

Naloxone is covered by most insurance plans and, for those without coverage, may be available at low or no cost through local public health programs or through retailer and manufacturer discounts.

The Surgeon General added in a press release that in order to make the increased availability of naloxone to the community effective, it has to happen in conjunction with expanded access to treatment for opioid disorders.

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Some emergency medical technicians in La Crosse believe Narcan is already being used frequently, though many who administer it may not be calling 9-1-1 for fear of prosecution by authorities.

"I think in large part, the state of Utah has been leading the pack in trying to get a handle on this, and we are seeing results", Cohen said.

Prior to his current role, Adams had been Indiana's health commissioner, where he promoted needle-exchange programs aimed at stemming the spread of diseases among intravenous drug users.

The U.S. Surgeon general has urged Americans to carry naloxone.

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