CDC: More people are getting access to Naloxone, but that’s still not enough

CAMDEN Co., N.C., - This past weekend, Camden County Sheriff Kevin Jones says a 24-year-old woman overdosed around 10 p.m. in the parking lot of the Dollar Store on US-158 in Camden County.

Authorities say she was unconscious, wasn’t breathing correctly and had discolored lips. They said they gave her three doses of Naloxone and saved her.

Photo of Naloxone, which rapidly reverses the effects of heroin and other opioids. The opioid overdose antidote has become a vital tool in fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic.

Then, around 11 a.m. the next day, there was an overdose in the parking lot of the former Camden Shell Station on US-158. Authorities say the man had no pulse and was unconscious. They said he was given two doses of Naloxone and survived but declined further medical treatment.

First responders frequently go to scenes and provide Naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of an overdose.

It can help the victim start breathing and wake them up.

“I watched this person go from agonal breathing and unresponsive to talking like there was nothing wrong in a period of about five minutes,” said Sheriff Jones.

He was on patrol this past weekend and watched his deputies give the drug to the woman they found on Saturday.

First responders have access to Naloxone in our region, and people can get it in pharmacies. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill to allow staff inside state schools to administer it.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new information about Naloxone. They said a recent study found that overall, more people are getting access to the drug - but that's still not enough.

They report that prescriptions for it have doubled from 2017 to 2018.

But, they now say the drug is still underused and say too few health care officials are prescribing it, especially in rural counties across the country.

Experts say on average, 130 Americans are dying every day from an opioid overdose.

The CDC recommends pharmacists, health care providers, health insurers and the public work together to make Naloxone available to more people.

When someone wants to get off drugs in Camden County, Sheriff Jones welcomes them into his office. He said he has an open-door policy and they can come in and talk to him about where they can get help without fear of arrest.

Click here for more information on Naloxone.

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