Time1:00PM2:00PM EST
Events hosted by RSI AND Virtual

Is Over the Counter Enough? Getting Naloxone to the People Who Need It Most


[Moderator] Stacey McKenna, Senior Fellow, Integrated Harm Reduction, R Street Institute

Rachel Barenie, Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy

Katie Greene, Project Director, Public Health, National Academy for State Health Policy

Eliza Wheeler, Co-Director, Remedy Alliance/For The People


Almost 300 people die every day of an opioid overdose in the United States. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the overdose reversal medication naloxone in 1971, access among those most likely to act as first responders—individuals who use drugs—remains insufficient to stop this crisis.

The FDA approved multiple intranasal naloxone products for over-the-counter (OTC) sales this year, the first of which recently hit store shelves. Proponents of the move argue it could reduce stigma and logistical barriers associated with purchasing naloxone from behind the pharmacy counter (even in states with standing orders) and that competition will help lower out-of-pocket costs as more products are approved. But many harm reductionists argue that OTC retail status fails to address the primary naloxone access barriers faced by people who use drugs.

In this panel, experts in pharmacy, policy and harm reduction will help answer the question “Is over-the-counter naloxone enough to stop the overdose crisis?” They will discuss what intranasal naloxone’s new OTC status does and does not do, as well as important next steps for regulators and policymakers working to curb overdose deaths in their communities and across the country.

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