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Expanding Efforts to Treat Opioid Overdoses

February 5, 2016
Addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers continues to challenge the social and economic wellbeing of counties big and small.
 
Heroin use specifically has increased dramatically in the past five years, and subsequently, overdose-related deaths more than doubled from 2011 to 2014. In an effort to provide assistance with this national epidemic, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy hosted a community forum on the opioid overdose in Knox County, Tenn. At this forum, state and local leaders announced that the National Association of Counties, the National Governors Association, the National League of Cities, and the United States Conference of Mayors with the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, Premier, Inc., and Adapt Pharma are offering NARCAN® Nasal Spray at a 40-percent discount.
 
NARCAN®, a potentially lifesaving opioid withdrawal medication, is the only FDA-approved, ready-to-use nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride. It can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, and access to this medication will allow public agencies to combat the number of drug-related overdose deaths across the country. Adapt Pharma is offering a 40-percent discount, $37.50 per dose ($75 for a two-pack carton) in an effort to make the medication more affordable and accessible, through the U.S. Communities Purchasing Alliance and Premier, Inc. NARCAN® is a simple product; its ease of use can save lives, even in the most high stress situations.
 
“The Administration has made it a top priority to expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone and medication-assisted treatment because we have lost too many of our family members and friends to the opioid epidemic,” said White House National Drug Policy Control Director Michael Botticelli. “This public-private partnership to secure discounts for state and local agencies can help ensure that these life-saving medications are available wherever they are needed.”
 
The National Governors Association threw support behind the agreement and highlighted the collaboration as an effective one. “Governors are at the forefront of the fight against opioid abuse,” said National Governors Association Chair Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “At the last NGA Summer Meeting, governors convened to discuss the opioid epidemic. There we discussed that to turn the tide, there must be a coordinated response across all levels of government, which this purchasing effort helps to achieve.”
 
Clarence Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities, emphasized the importance of cooperation among Adapt Pharma and U.S. Communities. He stated that “American cities are facing an epidemic of opioid addiction. Providing affordable access to drugs like NARCAN® Nasal Spray is critical to saving lives in the event of an opioid overdose. This public-private partnership is a vital step in stemming the opioid addiction epidemic in our communities.”
 
NARCAN® is also a simple product; its ease of use can save lives, even in the most high stress situations, and even when administered by understandably panicked bystanders.
 
The National Association of Counties views the offering as a perfect fit for its Safe and Secure Counties Initiative, and will continue to work with state associations of counties to develop policy recommendations and promote promising practices to address the opioid epidemic plaguing communities. “Medication-assisted opioid treatment can mean the difference between life and death,” said NACo President Sallie Clark, commissioner, El Paso County, Colo. “We see the devastating effects of prescription drug abuse and heroin use because counties are at the intersection of the local health, justice and public safety systems. We welcome this public-private partnership to support our response to this national crisis.”
 
U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director, Tom Cochran, understands how critical it is for local leaders to take advantage of this enormous opportunity. “Mayors across this nation are grappling with solutions to address the exponential rise in opioid overdoses occurring in our cities. We believe the expanded availability of this treatment is another tool for mayors and cities to use in their efforts to stem this epidemic,” he stated. The U.S. Conference of Mayors created a special mayors’ task force on substance abuse, prevention and recovery services, which will be headed by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh with the support of the organization’s president, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
 
Drug abuse can be absolutely devastating for individuals, families, and communities. The announcement of the discounted offering of NARCAN® is an indication that local leaders and organizations are willing to unite with private companies to combat addiction and overdose deaths.
 
U.S. Communities combines the purchasing power of more than 62,000 public agencies. The program offers no user fees, best overall supplier government pricing, quality brands, integrity, experience, and oversight by public purchasing professionals. For more information, please visit www.uscommunities.org. For more information on how U.S. Communities is poised to combat prescription drug abuse and heroin use, please visit www.uscommunities.org/suppliers/premier-medical/combating-drug-abuse/.


 
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