CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WTVC) — The Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan, or naloxone, for over-the-counter use. It's a move experts say should increase access to the crucial medication.
Emergent BioSolutions is one company that will sell the lifesaving drug. It plans to price the opioid overdose reversal medication at less than $50 for two doses, according to NBC News
The approval means the rescue drug could be sold in places such as convenience stores, grocery stores, and vending machines, in addition to drugstores.
The over-the-counter Narcan will come packaged with two 4-milligram doses, administered as a nasal spray.
It is expected to come in a larger box with images and detailed instructions to help people administer the drug more easily.
According to the CDC over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl in the United States.
In Tennessee the numbers are shocking. Statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) reveal fentanyl deaths in the state from 2017 through 2021 increased by 446%.
That's up 144% from previous data from 2017 to 2020.
Margaret Fullam and Lisa Jarvis each lost their children to fentanyl overdoses. They were each mother's only child.
Allyson Fullam was 26 years old when she lost her life. Allyson got a hold of pills that were laced with fentanyl three times the lethal limit and was found dead in her family home.
Lisa Jarvis lost her son Logan who struggled with severe depression and sought out drugs to comfort himself.
Lisa says when he died at 24 he didn't know he was taking fentanyl.
We didn't have Narcan or Naloxone or anything in our house and Logan passed away at our house," says Lisa. "You never know who you're going to come in contact with."
Lisa says she now carries the life-saving drug with her.
I wish more people would keep it on hand. Especially if they know they're going to be experimenting with things," says Fullam.
Angie Cash of Marion County lost her only child, Tres Dotson, to fentanyl poisoning on December 30th of 2022.
He had just turned 26 years old. Cash says she's seen the benefit of having Narcan readily available.
I see now, the benefit of it. I really do," says Cash.
"If you'd asked me that a year ago, I might have said, Oh, I don't know about that. Does that encourage? I used to have a little bit different opinion about that. I think it's fantastic," says Cash.
Kendall Morgan, the Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist for Hamilton County says recent data from 2021 shows how deadly fentanyl can be.
Almost three out of four fatal overdoses involve fentanyl. When you're comparing fentanyl to heroin, it's going to be 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine," says Morgan.
Morgan says fentanyl is made in a lab, which makes it extremely dangerous when coming in contact.