Narcan, the nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, is hitting store shelves this month for the first time as an over-the-counter medication — a milestone in the fight against the nation’s overdose crisis.
Manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions said last week it has shipped hundreds of thousands of the two-spray kits, at a suggested retail price of $44.99. Major retailers such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart say the kits will be available on shelves in coming days. Companies are also selling the sprays online.
Narcan is a nasal spray version of naloxone, the opioid antidote credited with saving countless lives during the nation’s overdose crisis. More than 110,000 people are believed to have died of drug poisonings last year, more than two-thirds of them from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Prescription Narcan is widely used, carried by paramedics and police officers, distributed by groups that work on the streets to reduce the dangers of an increasingly toxic drug supply, and stocked in libraries, schools and even vending machines.
The Food and Drug Administration in March approved Narcan for over-the-counter use, a measure that advocates hope will expand its use by positioning the spray in supermarkets, corner stores and gas stations — and have it stored in first-aid kits or with families worried teens might overdose on counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.