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Northern Michigan Drug Recovery Advocates Applauds FDA’s Approval of OTC Narcan

Naloxone, better known as Narcan, reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and the FDA just approved the nasal spray form of the medication for over-the-counter sales without a prescription.

Harm Reduction MI, a non-profit group that focuses on decreasing substance related harm in Michigan, has already been placing repurposed newspaper boxes all over the state, filled with Narcan.

Pamela Lynch, director of Harm Reduction MI, said the FDA’s ruling is a huge step at taking away stigma surrounding the drug.


“This is people of all walks of life, of all socioeconomic status, of all races, of all you know, we have Wall Street brokers who have opiate habits, and we have people who don’t have anything who have opiate habits,” said Lynch.

Lynch said the news is exciting for drug recovery advocates like herself. She hopes it will help to normalize Narcan usage.

“We’ve tried to tell people all along this is a very safe medication and that it has no potential for abuse. So, this move by the FDA to make it an over-the-counter medication validates the fact that it’s a very safe medication. I’ve been told by experts at the FDA that it’s safer than ibuprofen, safer than amoxicillin,” said Lynch.

Lynch said she hopes the FDA’s approval will encourage more people to be proactive to have the medicine on hand.


“We’re getting to a point where we want everybody to have this medication in their first aid kit. You know, we want to think about naloxone like a fire extinguisher, like a carbon monoxide detector. I’ve never used my fire extinguisher, but I have one,” said Lynch.

Munson Healthcare Family physician Dr. Jim Whelan said it’s a much-needed move to reduce barriers to access to the drug.

“It’s available for free in jails and vending machines at harm reduction. Michigan and by prescription from any provider. However, each of those situations has some stigma associated with it that may make a patient hesitant to a, either ask for it or go pick it up,” said Whelan.

There are seven locations for Harm Reduction MI in the State.


For more information on where the repurposed Narcan newspaper boxes are located, you can click here to go to their website or you can text ’Narcan?’ to 231-493-5124.

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