Long Beach drug stores are scheduled to have the reversal drug naloxone available on their shelves after the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug for over-the-counter sales.
In March, the FDA signed off on naloxone nasal spray from the company Narcan to be sold in drugstores nationwide. The drug is and is scheduled to be available in late September and early October.
The drug has been increasingly used by first responders due to its ability to rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The spray is effective in overdoses of heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl.
“For our department, all the officers are trained in how to use Narcan before they even hit the streets,” said Detective Nicholas Soewono with the Long Beach State Police Department. “The number of instances of opioid overdoses has increased over the years.”
More than 101,750 reported fatal overdoses occurred nationwide in the 12-month period ending in October 2022, primarily from illicit fentanyl, according to the FDA. Approximately one in four young adults aged 18 to 25 are current illicit drug users, according to a study from the National Library of Medicine.
As street drug epidemics increase across the country, having naloxone on hand has become the norm for first responders. In most cases when an overdose is reported, a police officer, fire engine and paramedic are dispatched.
“Once you administer the Narcan, it blocks the receptacles of what the opioid is doing inside your body and the reaction is instant,” Soewono said.
Soewono recommended that if one were to come across a stranger experiencing an overdose, the first thing to do is to call 911 before attempting to administer naloxone.
Beachside resident assistant Emilia Cox has witnessed overdoses in situations off-campus and said that it’s important to know what Narcan is.
“You can run into [drugs] if you’re at a bar or you’re out at a party and someone offers it to you,” Cox said. “For a lot of younger people it’s a thrill and you just want to experience it, but it can lead to a lot of chaos and tragedy real quick.”
Soewono also said that the trend of young adults experimenting with drugs has become more dangerous in recent years.
“With all the drug trends we’re seeing now, a lot of illicit drugs that are being tried out by students are super dangerous and just not worth it,” Soewono said. “It takes one bad decision and one little experiment to completely end your life.”
The Narcan nasal spray is scheduled to hit drug stores like Rite Aid and Walgreens in September. Due to the distribution process, Narcan is expected to hit shelves at CVS in October, according to a CVS employee.
The manufacturer of Narcan has set the price for a two-dose package at $44.99, according to a news release from the company. It is also available for purchase online.
“It’s important that we know about it [Narcan] and educate people about it,” Cox said. “It’s just something good to carry if you happen to see someone overdosing.”
How to deploy Narcan nasal spray, according to the American Medical Association
- Step 1: Peel back the package to remove the device
- Step 2: Hold the device with your thumb on the bottom of the plunger and two fingers on the nozzle.
- Step 3: Place and hold the tip of the nozzle in either nostril until your fingers touch the bottom of the patient’s nose.
- Step 4: Press the plunger firmly to release the dose into the patient’s nose.