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The large number of opioid overdose deaths in the United States has led the nation's Surgeon General to call for more Americans to carry the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
There were more than 42,000 opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016, according to Dr. Jerome Adams. He wants people at risk, as well as their family members and friends, to have naloxone with them and know how to use it, the Associated Press reported.
"Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose -- that's one person every 12.5 minutes," Adams said in a statement "It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77 percent of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home."
Adams is expected to discuss the new public health advisory Thursday morning at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, the AP reported.
Naloxone, which goes by the brand name Narcan, is injected or sprayed in the nostrils. The drug is available over the counter in most states and carried by many emergency responders nationwide.
As of July 2017, all 50 states had passed laws improving naloxone access, according to the The Network for Public Health Law, a nonprofit group.
"To manage opioid addiction and prevent future overdoses, increased naloxone availability must occur in conjunction with expanded access to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder," Adams noted in the statement, the AP reported.
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