The US surgeon general issued an advisory Thursday recommending that more Americans carry the opioid overdose-reversing drug, naloxone.
The drug, commonly known as Narcan, can very quickly restore normal breathing in someone suspected of overdosing on opioids, including heroin and prescription pain medications.
Dr. Jerome Adams emphasized that “knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life.” To make his point, Adams relied on a rarely used tool: the surgeon general’s advisory. The last such advisory was issued more than a decade ago and focused on drinking during pregnancy.
Adams noted that the number of overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids doubled in recent years: from 21,089 deaths across the nation in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016.