Opioid emergency-related deaths can often be prevented if a person receives emergency medical care and timely administration of an opioid overdose emergency treatment. For years, treatments that quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and help restore breathing have only been available in medical and hospital settings for use by trained personnel.
However, consumers are now able to purchase FDA-approved emergency treatments directly from the pharmacy, and many insurance plans cover them at a relatively low cost. Their role as an overdose reversal agent is critical, which is why the U.S. Surgeon General has recommended and reinforced consumer use of opioid emergency treatments in the first advisory in 13 years, emphasizing to anyone who may come in contact with a person overdosing to have an opioid emergency treatment on hand and within reach.
This is not a substitute for emergency medical care. When administering an emergency treatment option, always be sure to call 911 right away, even if the person wakes up. Rescue breathing or CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) may be given while waiting for emergency medical help to arrive.
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In 2017, someone died from an opioid overdose every 11 minutes in the United States.
*Both prescription and illicit use.