The opioid antagonist medication naloxone reverses respiratory depression and arrest resulting from an opioid overdose. Because it must be given promptly, often within minutes, to save a life, some jurisdictions and opioid treatment programs make naloxone readily available to anyone who might encounter a person in overdose status. The medication can be safely and easily administered by auto-injector or nasal spray and studies have found that making it available to relatives and friends of opioid users reduces deaths from overdose. However, public opinion has been slow to approve of the practice. Barriers include lack of knowledge about the medication, the stigma associated with opioid use, and concerns that naloxone’s availability could encourage illicit drug use. Learn More
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