State, feds OK more powerful tools to fight opioid overdoses
The $50M opioid grant money authorized by Rick Scott will be used for 40,000 Naloxone kits, among other tools.

Federal opioid response funds may be spent on more potent overdose-reversing drugs.

As the opioid epidemic rages on, Florida is receiving another dose of State Opioid Response Grant funding to purchase overdose-reversing drugs that save lives.

The $120 million SOR infusion is meant to address unmet treatment needs and opioid overdose-related deaths through prevention, treatment, and recovery activities for opioid use disorder.

That includes purchasing overdose-reversal drugs, such as naloxone, a medication marketed under the Narcan brand.

However, powerful synthetic opioids now account for the preponderance of overdose deaths in the state. According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement data, fentanyl — a compound 50 times more powerful than heroin — was responsible for 2,744 of the 3,959 opioid-related deaths (69%) reported last year.

The potency of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are testing the limitations of Narcan, which is typically administered in 4-milligram doses.

A recent study shows that in 78% of overdose treatment events where 4 mg Narcan was administered, two or more doses were needed. In 30% of cases, it took three or more doses. The study also found that 86% of participants reported more confidence in an 8 mg naloxone nasal spray vs a 4 mg naloxone nasal spray.

Notably, for the third round of SOR funding, the federal government is specifically allowing states to purchase a more powerful naloxone nasal spray, Kloxxado, which contains 8 mg of naloxone — double the amount found in Narcan.

According to Florida’s plan for the SOR funding, which the Department of Children and Families administers, the state will prioritize widespread community saturation for any FDA-approved naloxone nasal spray. Previously, the plan only allowed for the 4 mg variant.

Law enforcement have been using Kloxxado to reverse overdoses for two years, shortly after it earned FDA approval. Advocates say every second matters when treating overdose patients, and that Kloxxado provides the necessary dosage to combat the effects of increasingly powerful illicit drugs.

Staff Reports


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