A life-saving opioid overdose drug could be hitting store shelves.
Tell me more.
Yesterday, FDA advisers unanimously recommended that Narcan (a brand of naloxone) be sold over the counter. The nasal spray can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes. And has a 95% success rate when used correctly. It's been a key tool in combating an opioid crisis that worsened during the pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, opioid overdose deaths increased by 17%. And in recent years, the rise of fentanyl has added to the US’s death toll. Currently, naloxone is available for emergency medical providers in all 50 states. And pharmacies in most states can provide Narcan upon request.
Now that could change?
It could. If the FDA approves the recommendation, naloxone could be available in vending machines, schools, convenience stores, and supermarkets as soon as this summer. The agency's expected to make its final decision by the end of March. For now, it's unclear how much it would cost as an over-the-counter product. But the rec is getting plenty of support.
Health advocates believe that making naloxone readily available could help fight stigma and save lives. And while some FDA advisers want naloxone's instructions and packaging to be clearer, they're pushing the agency to move quickly. Meanwhile, others worry that increased accessibility could prevent health care providers from intervening and helping patients with their addiction.
In 2021, more than 100,000 people died from a drug overdose in the US — affecting countless families. Now, naloxone — which is widely viewed as the best treatment for opioid overdoses — could make a bigger difference in fighting the ongoing opioid crisis.
What Uncle Sam has on his mind…
Debt. Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report saying the gov could default in July…or possibly earlier. And that the US is on track to add about $19 trillion to its deficit over the next decade because of growing expenses (see: Social Security, Medicare, and the military). The report could complicate ongoing discussions in Congress to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. Reminder: Last month, the US hit its debt ceiling when it reached its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit. The gov's been staying afloat thanks to the Treasury Dept's “extraordinary measures." If the US does default, the stock market could get rattled, mortgage rates could shoot up, and the country could head into a recession. Eyes are on Republicans and Democrats to see if they can reach an agreement in less than five months. Tick tock.
Who’s off the hook…
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Yesterday, he said the Justice Dept dropped its sex trafficking probe against him. In 2021, federal prosecutors began investigating whether Gaetz broke federal sex-trafficking laws. Gaetz was accused of paying a 17-year-old girl to travel with him and of having a sexual relationship with her. The probe was part of a broader inquiry into the Florida congressman's former associate, Joel Greenberg, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes. Gaetz repeatedly denied the allegations. Now, he says prosecutors won't be bringing any charges. The DOJ has yet to comment.
Where there are updates...
Buffalo, NY. Yesterday, the 19-year-old white man who killed 10 people in a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket last year was sentenced to life in prison. The gunman had pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and a single count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate. He’s the first person in New York to be convicted of a domestic terrorist charge ever. During the hearing, a victim's family member called the gunman a “cowardly racist." And said he was “not a lone wolf, but a part of a larger organized network of domestic terrorists.”
Who said ‘it’s time to go’...
David Malpass. Yesterday, the World Bank president announced he’s stepping down at the end of June. It comes after climate activists and Democrats criticized him as a climate change denier. It’s not clear who could be replacing him.
What's giving us a new look under the sea...
Who's already doing better than many of us...
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