The U.S. Surgeon General on Thursday recommended that those who take opioids, as well as their friends and family, should carry the lifesaving drug naloxone to use in the event of an overdose, addressing head-on a national epidemic that has hit hard on Long Island.
Dr. Kelly Clark, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said Adams' call for expanded naloxone use was "important to highlight opioid addiction as a medical condition that needs to be treated as a public health emergency".
An estimated 2.1 million people in the US struggle with an opioid use disorder.
Adams noted that the number of overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids doubled in recent years: from 21,089 deaths across the nation in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016.
Adams said 95 percent of all insured Americans are covered to purchase naloxone.
More than 60 percent of overdose deaths nationwide are linked to opioid use, the CDC says.
The HHS sees an expansion of naloxone as key to responding to the opioid crisis, along with effective prevention, treatment and recovery programs.
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That said, some researchers contend that the increased availability of narcan only serves paradoxically to inspire even more risky drug consumption according to Jennifer Doleac, an assistant professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia. For those who are uninsured, he says the antidote is available at little or no cost through local public health programs.
Not long after their decision, a federal advisory is now saying more people should be carrying naloxone.
Where can you get naloxone for free?
"It's my feeling that we should be training people on how to use naloxone at the same time and in the same way we train people to use CPR", she said.
"An estimated 2.1 million people in the USA struggle with an opioid use disorder", Adams said.
Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the push, arguing that naloxone doesn't treat addiction and merely discourages people from seeking treatment by essentially offering a safety net if they overdose.
Prior to his current role, Adams had been Indiana's health commissioner, where he promoted needle-exchange programs aimed at stemming the spread of diseases among intravenous drug users.