Cities Face Prospect of “Narcan Rationing”
As the opioid crisis continues, and more addicts need multiple doses of Narcan to be revived after taking fentanyl-laced heroin, some cities are running out of money for Narcan.
As reported by the Daily Journal, on a Baltimore street corner, public health workers hand out a life-saving overdose antidote to residents painfully familiar with the ravages of America’s opioid epidemic. But the training wraps up quickly; all the naloxone inhalers are claimed within 20 minutes.
“We could’ve easily handed out hundreds of doses today. But we only had 24 kits. That goes fast,” said Kelleigh Eastman, a health department worker assisting the city’s bluntly dubbed “Don’t Die” anti-overdose campaign.
Cities like Baltimore are feeling the financial squeeze as they rely on naloxone to try and counteract rising overdose rates. Some hard-hit communities across the country are struggling to pay for dosages even at reduced prices.
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Last week, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams issued the office’s first national public health advisory in 13 years, calling on more Americans to start carrying naloxone and urging more federal funds be dedicated to increasing local antidote access.
“Costs should not and, in the near future, will not be a barrier to accessing naloxone for anyone in America,” Adams pledged.
The surgeon general’s advisory was welcome in Philadelphia, where health officials have debated internally whether “rationing” accurately describes their naloxone situation. The city has one of the highest opioid death rates of any large U.S. metropolis and distributed 25,000 doses from July through December last year.
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To learn more about how cities are trying to fund a skyrocketing Narcan budget, please visit the Daily Journal.