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Abuse of illegal and prescription opiates alike is a massive problem in the United States. Since 1999, deaths due to these substances has tripled. Overdoses can be reversed by administering Naloxone, but availability of the life-saving drug is spotty—some states have found ways sell it “over the counter”; others insist on a prescription. The FDA has supported greater access and is reviewing labelling that would make it truly OTC in every state.

Availability is steadily increasing among first-responders and others likely to encounter an overdose victim, but today the FDA announced an unusual initiative: the Naloxone App Competition. It’s open to the public and registration doesn’t open until September 23, so details on what such an app would look like and what it would do are thin. The FDA’s stated goal is to “connect those experiencing an overdose with the potentially life-saving antidote.”

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Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by PunchingJudy

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