Sept. 1, 2020 – The U.S. surgeon general and state governments have encouraged wide distribution of the drug in recent years, but recovery organizations in closest contact with people dependent on opioids often struggle to afford newer, more expensive versions of the drug.
Former President Bill Clinton and other backers of the initiative hope stocking naloxone in sober recovery homes will bring the lifesaving drug closer to those who need it: people in the early stages of recovery who are vulnerable to relapse as economic and social pressures mount during the pandemic.
“There are too many people whose lives are being lost and destroyed,” Clinton told USA TODAY. “And we have the capacity to make it a lot better. So I’m just hoping that what we’re doing here will make a big difference to the brave people running all these recovery homes.” Demand for naloxone is rising at recovery houses and harm-reduction groups that treat the nearly 2 million Americans with opioid-use disorder. In June, the charitable group Direct Relief International fielded requests for 90,000 doses of naloxone – three times more than a year ago.
More than 700,000 doses of naloxone were distributed last year to people at risk of overdose, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. Nearly one in three of the sterile syringe programs that offered naloxone ran out of the drug or had to ration it over the past three months.