To the Editor:
Trent Knuckle’s recent article, “Opioid overdose drug will soon be available without a prescription,” was a breath of fresh air. The state of Kentucky owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Shawn Ryan of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for providing access to this overdose-prevention medication, naloxone.
This type of article reminds us that common sense solutions can still prevail during a crisis. Indeed, there is a crisis. As mentioned in Knuckle’s column, there were 885 opioid-related deaths in Kentucky in 2015.
For those who are unfamiliar, naloxone will reverse an opioid overdose roughly 99% of the time as long as the drug is administered in time. Hence, everyone should be able to acquire this medication, not just medical professionals. Granted, someone needs to be trained to use naloxone properly, but that is easy to do.
Nonetheless, access to naloxone was restricted until recently even though there is no risk of people using naloxone for recreational purposes. There is no black market demand for naloxone because it doesn’t produce a high, nor is it addictive.
Thankfully, the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy made a change one and half years ago to allow pharmacists to dispense this miraculous medication without a prescription. Common sense prevailed.
The next mission is spreading awareness about naloxone in order to prevent more senseless deaths.