KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In 2018, there were 292 suspected overdose deaths in Knox County. The number is currently at 189. As the opioid crisis consumes the country, the lifesaving drug, naloxone, is slowly becoming more easily accessible to the public.
Narcan, a device that delivers naloxone, is a nasal spray medication that can reverse an overdose as it’s happening.
It is used by doctors, emergency personnel and law enforcement and saves hundreds of lives every year. It is now available for purchase online at naloxoneexchange.com. Anyone can purchase Narcan for themselves or for an organization in select states without a prescription.
Public officials see this as a good thing.
“I think that if people have that handy, that it is something that is positive to be able to use to stop an overdose.” said Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen.
With Narcan becoming more easily attainable across the country, it raises the concern that it could be overused.
“I just don’t want to get to the point to where we rely on that to have that where people think, ‘Oh because we have this available, its okay to OD, there’s somebody here with Narcan or naloxone right beside me that’ll save me.'” said Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen.
Narcan can reverse an overdose, but it is not a cure for addiction. This is a step in the right direction, but it is not a solution to the opioid epidemic.
“I think as prosecutors, the part of the job that we need to focus on is preventing the heroin, the fentanyl, the illegal drugs from coming into our community in the first place. So the better job we can do of cutting off the supply in law enforcement and prosecution the better,” said Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen.