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US libraries to be supplied with opioid overdose-reversing drug

In an effort to reduce drug-related deaths in the United States opioid epidemic, biopharmaceutical company Emergent BioSolutions has announced that it will supply the opioid overdose-reversing drug naxolone, known by its brand name Narcan, to all US public libraries.

According to American Libraries, all 16,568 public libraries in the US are eligible to receive one free carton, or two doses, of Narcan nasal spray, along with opioid awareness training for staff and community members. The initiative also includes supplying Narcan to YMCAs in the country, and follows the Narcan in schools program, which was implemented in 2016.

Narcan is already being used in some libraries, including Denver Public Library (DPL) in Colorado, which administered the drug 14 times in 2017. ‘These things can and do happen at libraries because libraries are very public places,’ said DPL city librarian and member of the Libraries and the Opioid Crisis Steering Committee Michelle Jeske.

‘During the current opioid crisis, libraries are working with other public agencies to identify and share vital information and resources, host community forums, and provide staff trainings to respond to overdoses. This is one step of a long journey toward lasting community-based solutions,’ said Jeske in a press release published by Emergent BioSolutions.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of opioid-related deaths in 2016 was five times that of 1999; in 2017, on average, 115 people died from opioid overdoses every day.

Narcan nasal spray is the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved needle-free emergency treatment for suspected opioid overdose. Its use has become widespread by first responders over recent years, as it does not require specialised medical training to administer.

 

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