The price of a powerful opioid antidote used to save heroin users during an overdose will double, officials were informed this week, leading to concerns about the future implementation of the tool, which has saved more than 220 lives in New Jersey since April, reports NJ.com.
County officials and addiction experts learned in recent days that the manufacturer of nasally-induced Naloxone, or Narcan, will raise prices to cope with burgeoning demand. The drug clears and blocks opioid receptors in the brain in minutes, and can rip an overdosing heroin user from the brink of death in minutes.
"I think it's absurd, but evidently it's supply and demand. I wish they would just keep making it and enjoy the profits they were already reaping," said Kenneth LaVelle, a doctor and former paramedic who has championed the drug's use in New Jersey in recent years. "It should be somewhat criminal that they're doing it."
The decision comes months after New Jersey expanded use of the drug to first responders, and increasingly, the general public. In Monmouth and Ocean counties, where pilot programs to issue naloxone to first responders began in April and May, respectively, it has been successfully used more than 200 times to reverse potentially fatal overdoses.