Sept. 1, 2023 – The announcement is believed by advocates to be a milestone that will make it easier to save lives in the US as the ongoing opioid epidemic claimed more than 100,000 American lives in 2021, ABC News reported.

While the majority of these deaths resulted from opioid use or overdose, particularly synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, Emergent BioSolutions revealed that approximately one life was lost to an opioid overdose every seven minutes in the US last year.

Narcan, which is currently available in 4ml doses, is sprayed directly into the nostrils of someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

With the help of the main ingredient in the medication — naloxone — the effects of opioids are blocked and breathing is efficiently restored.

The CDC said: “Anyone at risk or who knows someone at risk for an opioid overdose should carry naloxone or keep it in their home.

“It is safe for bystanders to administer the drug to anyone who appears to be experiencing an overdose and will not hurt them if they are not actually overdosing.”

Previously, in 2021, nearly 17 million doses were distributed in the US mostly through local health departments, first responders, schools and other organisations. 

Since then, harm reduction groups have urged for easier access to naloxone, particularly in underserved communities.

“A steadfast commitment to expanding access to naloxone has always been at the forefront of our work to help save lives and we’re proud to bring Narcan Nasal Spray to many, many more places,” Paul Williams, senior vice president of products business at Emergent BioSolutions said in a statement.