The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan, 4 milligrams (mg) naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray for over-the-counter (OTC), non-prescription use. Making Narcan readily available to all will save lives from Fentanyl and opioid poisoning and overdose, but it should not be seen as a solution to the Fentanyl crisis. Making this pharmaceutical spray available without a prescription may ease people’s minds that they are protecting themselves and their families, but it is putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. We cannot let this action take our eye off the massive problem of China and Mexico conspiring to kill 100,000 Americans yearly with illegal Fentanyl.
Many facets of this story need to be looked at before we begin to celebrate the release of Narcan to the public. Narcan is to Opioid and Fentanyl overdoses, as the Epi-Pen is to severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis. These reactions can include food allergies like a peanut allergy, allergic reactions to insect stings and bites, and allergies to medications. These two situations are very different. The Epi-pen is a quick solution to a health condition. The Narcan spray is possibly first aid for someone exposed to illegal drugs. To me, we should be thankful for both but not celebrate the mass availability of Narcan.
Narcan is a wonderful creation that will save thousands of lives but it does not solve why we need such a remedy. People who suffer from anaphylaxis are innocent victims of a breakdown in their body that makes them susceptible to a severe allergic reaction. People who benefit from a blast of Narcan are using illegal or poorly sourced tainted drugs.
In talks with police who have administered Narcan, it is not an easy procedure. The victim is usually restrained for everyone’s protection as the recovery brings about an involuntary violent reaction. It often takes multiple doses before the victim recovers fully. The ordinary person is not trained to administer the Narcan spray. It is not a quick fix.
The government is taking credit for this development, but they are fooling themselves and anyone unfamiliar with Narcan. This will grab some attention away from the Fentanyl epidemic and attack from the Mexicans and Chinese. That distraction will be short-lived. Narcan will not hit the shelves until late summer, and the Fentanyl deaths will continue.
My concern with the FDA’s decision is that it will create a false sense of safety and security. People who use illegal drugs, or buy prescription drugs on the street, will think that if they get into a bad situation, Narcan will be available to save their lives—foolish, deadly thinking.
New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman created a rowdy scene this week, calling the GOP cowards for not adopting Democrat gun-control policies. There are far more young people dying from drug overdoses or poisonings. The noise you hear is American parents yelling back at the Congressman, asking what he and the Democrats are doing to seal the border and stop the flow of Fentanyl. Narcan is not the solution. Ending the flow of Fentanyl into our country is.