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FDA approves Narcan to be sold over the counter

After a record-breaking number of overdose deaths in Minnesota in 2021, local advocacy groups say the move is a win, but there are still unanswered questions.

MINNEAPOLIS — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Narcan, a drug that could save someone's life if they overdose, can now be sold over the counter.

Minnesota saw a record-breaking amount of overdose deaths in 2021.

Groups say that they’re glad there will be more access to Narcan, a name-brand version of naloxone, but there are still some unanswered questions.

Maddy Reagan, the Overdose Prevention Manager for the Steve Rummler Hope Network, said their organization is excited that the FDA approved the life-saving nasal spray.

The group teaches people how to use the drug and gives out an intramuscular version of it for free. They said Narcan is about 50 times as expensive as the version they usually would give out.

Depending on the pharmacy, an insured purchase of Narcan in Minnesota can cost more than $100. 

“I think some questions would be logistically what it will look like in terms of access from pharmacies,” said Reagan. “But it'll remove the need to go and speak to a pharmacist because under Steve's Law right now, individuals can go to a pharmacy and request Narcan, and the pharmacist can write them a prescription right then in there. So they will no longer need to go and have that conversation.” 

Regardless, they believe this FDA decision will make it even easier to access Naloxone.

“The truth is, Naloxone gives people the chance for life,” said Reagan. “And it gives people that chance for recovery.” 

Officials hope by late summer, Narcan will be available for over-the-counter purchase. 

For more information on training and how to find naloxone, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website.

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