The Medical Association of the State of Alabama urged federal regulators on Monday to increase access to Narcan, the drug most used to counter the effects of opioid overdoses and revive the victim.
In a statement released on Monday, Dr. Julia Boothe, President of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, congratulated the independent advisors for the Food and Drug Administration in their recommendation to allow over-the-counter use of Narcan. That unanimous recommendation came on Wednesday of last week.
“At a time when Alabama and all states are seeing a surge in fentanyl overdose deaths, increasing access to naloxone will save lives,” said Dr. Julia Boothe, President of the Medical Association. “Doctors in Alabama applaud the independent advisors’ unanimous decision and are hopeful the FDA will follow through and make Narcan available over the counter.”
While the FDA is not required to accept the recommendation from the agency advisors, it is expected to decide by March. 29 whether Narcan would be made available over-the-counter by late summer.
Between 2020 and 2021, Fentanyl overdoses in Alabama increased by 136 percent, according to a recent report from the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program. The same report found that in 2020, 1,069 deaths in 2021 were determined to be fentanyl overdoses, up over 600 cases when compared to the previous year’s 453 deaths.
The amount of dispensed prescriptions for naloxone in retail pharmacies increased 35.4 percent in the same time frame, according to the American Medical Association.