Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist that rapidly binds to opioid receptors, blocking heroin from activating them. An appropriate dose of naloxone acts in less than 2 minutes and completely eliminates all signs of opioid intoxication to reverse an opioid overdose.1 Between 1996 and 2014, naloxone reportedly reversed over 26,000 overdoses.2
Naloxone that can be used by nonmedical personnel has been shown to be cost-effective and save lives. In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a Naloxone hand-held auto-injector called Evzio, which rapidly delivers a single dose of naloxone into the muscle or under the skin, buying time until medical assistance can arrive.3
Increasing Access to West Virginians
In 2016, the state passed a law that allows pharmacies to sell naloxone without a prescription.
In addition, earlier in 2017, health officials in the state distributed more than 8,000 naloxone kits to first responders, people at risk and their loved ones in areas including Huntington and Charleston. A $1 million federal grant managed by West Virginia’s Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities made the giveaway possible.4
1Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Research Report Series: Heroin. November 2014, Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).
2Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs Providing Naloxone to Laypersons — United States, 2014.
3Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Research Report Series: Heroin. November 2014, Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).
4Press Release: DHHR Launches Statewide Naloxone Distribution Project to Fight Opioid Overdose Deaths in West Virginia. February, 6, 2017. View source: http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/News/2017/Pages/DHHR-Launches-Statewide-Naloxone-...