U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) wants quick federal approval for a nasal spray that can revive people who overdose on drugs. The drug known as Narcan is currently available as an injector, but Kirk says first responders – firefighters and police officers – aren’t always comfortable sticking someone with a needle. But approval of the nasal spray version could be seven to eight years away, says Kirk, which worries him, considering the heroin problem in the Chicago suburbs.
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“We expect that there would be about 1,000 suburban deaths of heroin overdose by the time the FDA finally approves nasal Narcan,” Kirk said. Non-EMT first responders in DuPage County already carry the nasal spray version. Kirk says so far, the drug has had a perfect success rate, saving the lives of 22 people who had overdosed. Kirk says other Illinois counties may benefit from allowing first responders to get trained to use nasal Narcan. Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties are working on implementing use of the nasal spray version by the end of the year.