We know how hard the opioid and addiction crisis has hit our state over the past few years. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it worse, and too often made it harder for people to get the treatment they need.
For Ohioans struggling with addiction, access to naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication, can be a matter of life and death. And too often, that lifesaving medication is too expensive and too hard to obtain.
That’s why I teamed up with a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues to write to seven major manufacturers of naloxone, urging them to apply for over the counter status for their products, to help increase access and save lives.
Granting naloxone over the counter status will help lower the cost of the medication and increase access both at the pharmacy counter and for community organizations working to distribute this life-saving tool.
Despite the effectiveness of naloxone and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) public support for making the product available over the counter, the medication is not currently available over the counter because drug manufacturers have resisted applying.
And while there are standing orders and workarounds that can allow individuals to acquire naloxone without a prescription in Ohio, regulatory hurdles continue to create unnecessary barriers.
A study found that substantially increased access to naloxone reduced opioid overdose death rates by 46 percent. That’s why I’m calling on naloxone manufacturers to submit applications to make naloxone available over the counter without delay.
We cannot leave people struggling with addiction on their own and without help.
I’ll keep fighting for additional resources to ensure Ohioans dealing with addiction have accessible and reliable treatment options, now and in the years to come.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.