New White House initiative launches to reduce overdoses

The Biden administration recently launched an initiative called the Challenge to Save Lives from Overdose, described as a nationwide call to increase training on and access to opioid overdose reversal medications like naloxone. This follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of over-the-counter Narcan spray and the approval of the first generic non-prescription nasal spray in 2023. The latest initiative aims to encourage leaders to train employees on how to use opioid overdose medications and to keep naloxone in emergency kits in workplaces. The announcement generated an increase in conversations about naloxone on social media. Although many posts made political statements, others focused on the responsibility and  feasibility for employers to enact the initiative’s goals. 

Recommendation: As organizations and employers sign on to the initiative, public health officials may face questions about how naloxone works, when someone is supposed to use it, and where they can access it. More broadly, organizations may need supporting materials on the signs of overdose, and rates of opioid overdose in specific communities or states. Ensuring that FAQ sheets and public-facing websites are updated with the latest information, including talking points about using naloxone in the case of newer, non-opioid drugs like xylazine, is recommended.