New "At Home" Heroin Antidote


Published 04/07 2014 06:01PM

Updated 04/07 2014 07:04PM

WINCHESTER, Va. - The FDA has approved a new "at home" device under their priority review program that will allow non-medical personnel to stop the life threatening effects of a narcotic overdose.

"It’s so painful for people when they are coming off of heroin that even if [a user] wanted to be cleans more than anything in the world, they've got to do it, because they hurt so bad," said Clean, Inc. Counselor, Tara Nelson, when describing what an addict goes through when they withdraw, or get “dope sick.”

The new FDA-approved device, called Evzio, contains naloxone, a powerful antidote that reverses the effects of narcotic drugs. Once it is released to consumers, the device will verbally walk a person through effectively using it.

"I think it's a great thing,” said Special Agent Jay Perry with the Northwest Virginia Drug Task Force. “I think it will probably save lives. It's definitely a piece of the puzzle that we could use to help prevent some of these deaths,” said Perry, referencing an overdose death rate that has grown 2000 percent in Northwest Virginia alone, since 2012.

Naloxone, also called narcan, is currently only available to parents and non-medical personnel on a state-by-state case basis.

Many say naloxone is a miracle drug. However, while it has saved those from potentially dying from narcotic overdoses, others say it will only endanger and enable heroin and opiate based drug addicts to keep using.

"Anything that can help save someone's life is always a good thing,” said Nelson. “[But] the con is that I believe it could provide users with a false sense of security," allowing users to believe they are invincible from overdosing on narcotics.

"I think the key to it is following up with medical treatment,” said Perry, who also sees Evzio as a, “double edge sword, because we have seen folks that have so much heroin in their system, they can get hit with narcan, and then once the narcan wears off, they'll overdose again.” Perry thinks that without medical personnel follow up, Evzio will only go so far.

Evzio is being manufactured out of Richmond, Va., and the FDA hopes to make the device available by June 20, 2014.

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