All U.S. High Schools Will Now Get The Overdose-Reversal Drug

Photo: Courtesy of Adapt Pharma.
Naloxone, the drug that can reverse a heroin overdose, is about to become a lot easier to get. The drug (a.k.a. Narcan) will now be provided free of charge to all high schools in the United States, thanks to a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and Adapt Pharma. The venture was announced today at the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Summit.

The new program is part of the foundation's Health Matters Initiative, and builds on a previous one, in which Adapt provided first responders with naloxone in nasal spray form at a discounted price. The foundation already has an existing partnership with pharma company Kaléo to provide an injectable form of naloxone to colleges at a reduced price. But this new program expands on those initiatives, allowing schools access to the life-saving drug at no cost. The company is also giving the National Association of School Nurses a grant, to support their overdose education efforts.

As we wrote earlier this month, naloxone is an important tool in our fight against rising opioid death rates. But it's not without controversy. Some still oppose expanding access to the drug because they think it will act a "safety net," making it more likely that drug users will continue to use, knowing that naloxone is there to save their lives.

But both President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell see naloxone as a crucial part of our country's plan to beat back the rising rates of heroin-related deaths, and, eventually, opioid addiction. After all, people can only get better if they're still alive.

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