The FDA has approved an over-the-counter heroin anti-overdose medication, called Evzio. This anti-overdose medication comes in the form of a syringe pen, similar to the EpiPen, which is used to treat serious allergic reactions. It will be available for people to inject into a person who is overdosing on heroin and other opioids.
The medication, a drug called Naloxone, will stop the heroin from slowing down a person’s breathing to the point where they stop breathing and die. Heroin targets receptors in the brain that control breathing. The naxolone drug in Evzio will reverse the hold that heroin has on those receptors. It has been used for some time by hospital and ambulance personnel to save people’s lives from overdose fatalities. The FDA rapidly approved the over-the-counter version after only 15 weeks.
A pilot program in Suffolk County in New York had police officers carrying and using the new drug. Between 2012 and now, over 500 lives had been saved as a part of this pilot program. Now law enforcement personnel all over New York state are carrying the Evzio. It is likely that many states will follow this practice.
The Evzio kit costs $60 and has a shelf life of 2 years. According to the CDC, in 2010 there were 16,652 deaths due to opioids.
Other types of opioids include: