After Push from Rep. Carbajal and Other Lawmakers, FDA Approves Over-The-Counter Access to Narcan

Carbajal was part of bipartisan group of 28 House members that earlier this month urged swift approval of lifesaving opioid abuse treatment

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of the opioid abuse treatment Narcan over the counter, a milestone decision that Congressman Salud Carbajal and other lawmakers had urged the agency to make earlier this month.

This is the first naloxone product, which is used to counteract opioid overdoses and treat opioid abuse, that has been approved by the FDA for sale without a prescription.

Earlier this month, U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) joined a bipartisan group of 28 lawmakers urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fully the approve over-the-counter (OTC) distribution of Narcan.

“Putting Narcan directly in the hands of those impacted by opioids will save lives on the Central Coast,” said Congressman Carbajal.I’m glad that the FDA has heeded our bipartisan call to swiftly approve the recommendation of their experts – and will work with our local partners to raise awareness of this new tool at our community’s disposal as this new approval is implemented. Narcan is safe and effective, with no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system. Putting it within reach of those who may be encountering substance abuse disorder in their home or in their day-to-day life will give us a new way to protect our communities from abuse, overdose, and loss of life.”

Overdose deaths involving opioids, including fentanyl, increased by nearly 30% between 2019 and 2020, and demand for Narcan continues to rise as prescription and synthetic opioids flood communities across America. In 2021, the U.S. saw a record number of drug overdose deaths, over 107,000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Through successive terms in Congress, Congressman Carbajal has helped pass numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the opioid crisis.

In 2022, Congressman Carbajal helped get signed into law expanded access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, as well as stronger training requirements for all prescribers of controlled substances like opioids.

In 2018, Carbajal also backed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which was billed by the American Hospital Association at the time as “Congress’ most comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic to date.”

A copy of the lawmakers’ letter from earlier this month can be found here.

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