Skip to main content

The Surgeon General's Warning on Narcan

My game plan is to research, condense my findings, and translate it into everyday language for busy people.

Surgeon General: Jerome Adams M.D., M.P.H.

Surgeon General: Jerome Adams M.D., M.P.H.

Once we crack down on prescribing we know folks will shift over to heroin (and fetanyl).. It's really why we need to move upstream and deal with proximate causes, have a focus on prevention, deal with adverse childhood experiences, deal with mental health issues, and make sure we're using the opioid epidemic as an opportunity to change the way we talk about health, to change the way we talk about mental health, to change the way we talk about addiction, and create whole and healthy communities."

— Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H.

In 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams—who has a master's degree in public health and a doctorate in medicine—issued a surgeon general's advisory urging civilians to buy and carry naloxone, which is a drug that reverses an overdose due to opioids. The last surgeon general's advisory was issued in 2005 and advised women not to drink during pregnancy. The opioid epidemic has been declared a nationwide public health emergency. The number of deaths by overdose rose from 21,089 in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016. From July 2016 to September 2017 the number of deaths by overdose increased by 30% in all parts of the United States.

Surgeon general advisories are issued when there is a major health problem and a need to call for action. One of the things we are trying to do is help the public understand that we're losing a person every 12.5 minutes to an opioid overdose, and ... over half of these overdoses are occurring at home."

— Surgeon General Jerome Adams M.D., M.P.H.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams openly admits that his brother is still in jail for crimes he did related to drug addiction. It is a topic often swept under the rug due to embarrassment and addiction being a taboo subject in our culture and not a legitimate disease. Many people think that we should not be saving heroin addicts and treating addiction like the disease that it is. However, it is a disease and these people need time and help to recover from addiction and the problems that come along with it.

Addiction is a chronic disease. It's not a moral failing and there's not going to be a magic fix. It's important that we use Naxolone as a bridge to definitive treatment and long term recovery."

— Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D. and M.P.H.

Scroll to Continue

The drug Naxolone has been used for forty years and administered mainly in hospitals until about three years ago. There are local public health programs that offer free Narcan to uninsured people. Pharmacies are supposed to be selling it to the insured. In July of 2017, every state passed laws that improve access to Naxolene. Despite the fact that there are many politicians and people who think that we should not be helping these people because they think it just enables them, people are becoming more aware that this is a disease and needs to be treated as such. These people need medical care and a second, third, and/ or fourth and fifth chance at life the same as anyone. Adams served as Indiana's health commissioner and also promoted not just Naxolone but the use of needle exchange programs especially during the H.I.V. outbreak in Indiana.

There are people out there that think naxolone doesn't make a difference; you're just going to go and misuse substances again. That would be like me saying I'm not going to do C.P.R. on someone having a heart attack because if we save them, they're just going to go out there and eat fast food and be back here all over again."

— Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H.


Sources Cited:

Related Articles