Opioid-Antidote Drug to Be Distributed to US High Schools for Free

By Sherley Boursiquot, Epoch Times
April 29, 2016 Updated: May 2, 2016

A pharmaceutical company has volunteered to distribute free Narcan Nasal Spray in all U.S. High Schools in conjunction with Smith Medical Partners in hopes of reducing the number of deaths resulting from opioid overdoses.  

Adapt Pharma made the announcement on April 28.

The company released a statement saying that the Nasal Spray, which consist of a drug called naloxone, “is the first and only FDA-approved naloxone nasal spray for the emergency treatment of opioid.”

The sprays “have the ability to help reverse opioid overdose,” Thomas Duddy, Executive Director of communication at Adapt Pharma told Epoch Times.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, author Kim Jae-Hyung wrote:

“During an opioid overdose, opioid receptors in the respiratory center of the brain are activated. When this occurs, respiratory drive is suppressed and the breathing rate can either slow dangerously or stop completely.

“Rapid reversal of respiratory depression is crucial to help prevent hypoxic brain injury or death.” 

(Photo courtesy of Thomas Duddy/Adapt Pharma)
(Courtesy of Thomas Duddy/Adapt Pharma)

In 2014, roughly 3,800 people between ages 15–24 have died from drug overdose deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Opioids make up a significant component of that number, according to the agency— “a 3.6 percent increase from the previous year,” Duddy added.

According to statistics, it is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide.

Moreover, Duddy indicated that the company chose to distribute the antidote in high schools because not only had the use of opioids increased over time, but school is a place “where you can deliver education.”

“And high schoolers are the most receptive,” Duddy said, adding that in Elementary school, students wouldn’t have the ability to retain the information because they are “too young.”

(Photo courtesy of Thomas Duddy/Adapt Pharma)
(Courtesy of Thomas Duddy/Adapt Pharma)

He then reassured that it won’t be easy for students to obtain the nasal spray.

They must get a prescription medical approval from their physician within the state or from their school districts.

“We’re not going to just hand them out like that,” Duddy said.

Still, some people on social media aren’t too fond of the idea of providing an antidote to heroine overdoses, but Duddy said he has gotten “nothing but positive feedback” from school officials.

As far as parents, he hasn’t heard anything from them, “neither positive or negative,” he said. 

Duddy told Epoch Times that three states are on board, but only two have received the product: Pennsylvania and New Hampshire—Kentucky is set to get the product sometimes in the fall, along with some training about the usage of the antidote, he said.

Above all, Duddy stressed that the goal is to “reduce the numbers of overdoses and deaths along with educating and treatment,” which is why he thinks school is the perfect place that would help achieve that. 

“School is the most central point for most communities,” he said.