Overdose-reversal nasal spray made public in WNC

Overdose-reversal nasal spray comes to WNC (Photo credit: WLOS)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Western North Carolinians are becoming the first to gain access to a life-saving medication.

It is a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an overdose on opioid drugs, like heroin or prescription pain killers.

In just a year and a half, Mission Hospital saw 104 patients who had overdosed from heroin, equating to two overdoses per week.

Local healthcare agencies hope Narcan, the first nasal spray of its kind approved by the Food and Drug Administration, will help fight this epidemic.

A presentation at Smoky Mountain MCO on Tuesday morning, showcased the more than 2,600 free nasal spray kits now available in Western North Carolina.

People in 23 counties in the mountains will be the first to have access to the free overdose rescue kits.

"This is not the only answer of course," CEO of Smoky Mountain MCO Brian Ingraham said. "We need to get ahead of this. Some of the other initiatives that we are promoting are greater access to treatment, but people have to stay alive to benefit from treatment."

Injectable forms of the overdose-reversal medication have been on the market.

The nasal spray will be distributed through the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, treatment clinics, physicians and other agencies.

$100,000 in funding from Smoky Mountain MCO is helping bring this medication to our area.

To speak to Conner Adams, Appalachian Harm Reduction Services specialist, call (800)-898-5801 for more on getting a free Narcan nasal spray kit.

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