Expanding Access to Naloxone: Reducing Fatal Overdose, Saving Lives

April 11, 2012
Drug Policy Alliance

A serious but largely overlooked crisis has taken root in the United States. More than 100 people die every day in the United States from a drug overdose. Overdose rates have tripled since 1990 and increased more than 140 percent between 2000 and 2008. This overdose epidemic continues virtually unchecked despite the existence of practical, low-cost interventions.

Chief among today's highly effective available practices to halt and reverse the growing toll of accidental overdose fatalities is naloxone hydrochloride (also known as Narcan™), a low-cost medicine available generically that was first approved by the FDA in 1971.

This policy brief, released in advance of a groundbreaking hearing on April 12, details how naloxone is already saving lives and includes steps that policymakers and public health officials can take to further reduce fatal overdoses.