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U.S. Communities can be a key partner in fighting opioid crisis

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 The opioid epidemic has been called the worst drug crisis in American history with more than 170 people estimated to die from overdoses every day in the United States. According to STAT, opioids could kill nearly 650,000 people across America in the next decade. The race to solve the unrelenting opioid crisis is a top priority in communities small and large.

There is a broad consensus that increased access to overdose-reversing drugs is a critical component of the emergency treatment of opioid overdose.

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New research by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that “improving access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone hydrochloride is linked to a 9 to 11 percent reduction in opioid-related deaths,” potentially resulting in around 3,500 averted deaths nationwide each year.

To help combat this national epidemic, the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, Premier, Inc. and Adapt Pharma partnered to offer the first and only FDA-approved potentially lifesaving opioid withdrawal medication, NARCAN Nasal Spray, a ready-to-use nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride.

NARCAN temporarily reverses the effects of opioids, including heroin and pain medications like morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone, and has become a staple for medical professionals, fire and police departments and even librarians since it does not require assembly or priming to use.

This ready-to-use, needle-free device is used along with emergency medical treatment to reverse the life-threatening effects of opiate overdose.

The discounted program is an effort to provide affordable access to NARCAN for entities that serve the public interest with limited funding. Public interest pricing at a 40 percent discount, or $37.50 per dose ($75 for a two-pack carton) is offered through the purchasing power of U.S. Communities.

Recently, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) directed the Florida surgeon general to issue a standing order for NARCAN to ensure that first responders across the state have immediate access to treat opioid overdoses. Similarly, in Arizona over the past four years, opioid overdose deaths increased 74 percent. James Fole, deputy chief procurement officer in Maricopa County, Ariz. said that the county will save an estimated $100,000 annually by purchasing NARCAN through U.S. Communities.

U.S. Communities Purchasing Cooperative is the leading national cooperative purchasing program, providing world-class government procurement resources and solutions to local and state government agencies, school districts (K-12), higher education institutions and nonprofits. U.S. Communities participating agencies can purchase NARCAN Nasal Spray at public interest pricing. There is no cost or fee to use the program and cooperative purchasing can also deliver significant time efficiencies when every second counts. Affordable access to this medication will allow entities that serve the public interest with limited funding to combat the number of drug-related overdose deaths across the country.

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