Surgeon General Recommends Those At Risk of Opioid Overdose Carry Epi Pen Apr12

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Surgeon General Recommends Those At Risk of Opioid Overdose Carry Epi Pen

Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a rare public health advisory calling on friends and family members of people at risk of opioid overdose to carry the overdose reversal drug naloxone, likening the treatment to other lifesaving interventions such as knowing how to perform CPR or use an EpiPen.

The recommendation comes in the form of a surgeon general’s advisory, a tool used to draw attention to major public health issues. The last one, focused on drinking during pregnancy, was issued in 2005.

“What makes this one of those rare moments is we’re facing an unprecedented drug epidemic,” Adams told STAT in a phone interview Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of Americans are dying from drug overdoses each year, largely driven by opioids. While paramedics — and increasingly, police officers — carry naloxone, they often arrive too late for it to save someone’s life. In countless cases, family members and friends — often other people using drugs — have reported using naloxone to save an overdose victim, and the idea is that if more people have naloxone on hand, more people could be saved.

“It’s easy to use, it’s lifesaving, and it’s available throughout the country fairly easily,” Adams said.