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Foster Urges Prompt Review Of Naloxone For Over-The-Counter Use In Heroin and Opioid Overdoses

Apr 23, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today Congressman Bill Foster, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and 18 Members of Congress wrote the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urging them to take prompt action to recognize naloxone as a safe and effective over-the-counter (OTC) medication to reverse an opioid overdose. 

A copy of the bipartisan letter can be found here.

“The rapid increase in heroin abuse in Illinois and throughout the country is a devastating trend.  We must do all we can to reverse it,” said Foster. “I have heard too many stories from families from all walks of life who have lost a loved one to heroin abuse.  Naloxone is a critical tool for families with loved ones struggling with opioid addiction. Increasing access to Naloxone will save lives.”

Naloxone is a prescription drug used to reverse heroin and other opioid overdoses. Naloxone must be administered quickly, and it is often too late by the time an overdose victim is treated. Community programs that provide brief training and equip potential bystanders and emergency responders with naloxone have demonstrated large reductions in opioid related fatalities. Unfortunately, naloxone is still considered a prescription drug, enacting large barriers to wide distribution. Multiple states have tackled this issue by implementing liability laws that increase access to naloxone. However, the only way to effectively place naloxone in the hands of all those who need it is by making it available OTC.

The bipartisan letter was signed by 20 Members of Congress, including: Vern  Buchanan (FL-16), Diana DeGette (CO-1), Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), William Enyart (IL-12), Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Mike Honda (CA-17), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Charles Rangel (NY-13), Bobby Rush (IL-1), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1), Steve Stivers (OH-15), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Niki Tsongas (MA-3), Peter Welch (VT-AL).