Long Island mental health expert supports FDA recommendation for over-the-counter naloxone
The Food and Drug Administration is pushing for the overdose reversal drug naloxone to be sold over the counter as a nasal spray.
Hofstra professor and mental health expert Keith Scott established the first "on-demand" Narcan program on Long Island, which helped get the medication into the hands of thousands of people including parents and first responders.
Scott says the more Narcan, the better, especially now.
“That’s what Narcan does, it extends time for someone. It allows EMS first responders to have one more tool that brings them back to life,” he says. “We know more people are seeking treatment, we know more people are overdosing. We also know there is a huge rise in the amount of fentanyl found across Long Island.”
While the narcotic is responsible for bringing countless amounts of people back from the brink of death, it's also been criticized by some who say the drug perpetuates addiction by being a safety net for those addicted to abuse.
However, Scott says, “It's a safety net. Just because we have a fire extinguisher in our house, does not mean we're going to cook more dangerously.”
Steve Chassman, executive Director of the Long Island Council on alcoholism and drug dependent, says treatment isn’t just about making this Naloxone more available, it's also about preventing that next overdose from happening.
“We need to make more concrete paved roads to treatment, on demand insurance companies paying for 30 or 45 days in treatment. There are other obstacles that we're working on overcoming,” he says.
The FDA plans to make its final decision on March 29.