ODESSA, Texas — The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the prescription nasal spray Narcan for over-the-counter purchases.
Narcan is something akin to a miracle worker, countering the effects of opioid overdoses from drugs like fentanyl. When given to a patient that is experiencing an overdose, it can significantly increase their chances of survival.
Dr. Olga Dowell has been with Odessa Regional Medical Center for nearly eight years and praises the FDA for making the drug more accessible to the public.
"I think it was extremely important for the FDA to approve this medication for over-the-counter purchase because it’s life-saving for most of the patients who are drug addicts,” Dowell said.
Narcan is quite simple to use even for people who aren't medical professionals.
"It’s extremely easy to apply and it can be used by anyone. Whether you're a bystander or a kid… it’s very easy to use," Dowell said. "It’s actually like a nasal spray that you use for allergies, it’s the same way."
It's not just ORMC that has been using Narcan to combat drug overdoses.
Hospitals around the country have been using it with more frequency for years.
"Oh my gosh we've used it for years and years," Dowell said. "We had this medication for a number of years, probably more than 20 years."
Drug overdoses are an unfortunate commonality in Dowell's line of work, with Narcan becoming an increasing tool in any doctor's medical toolkit.
"Almost every week we have to use Narcan when the patient comes in with an overdose and we suspect an overdose," Dowell said. "We use a Narcan and we save patients lives."
According to the FDA, Narcan should be hitting the shelves of local pharmacies by late summer.