National/World

US urges doctors to write more Rx for overdose antidote

The U.S. government is telling doctors to consider prescribing overdose reversal drugs such as Narcan to many more patients taking opioid painkillers.

The strategy could add more than $1 billion in health care costs.

Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir announced the guidance Wednesday. He says it's important for doctors to discuss overdose dangers with patients.

More than 47,600 Americans died of opioid overdoses last year. The street drug fentanyl is the top killer today, but prescription painkillers are still a problem.

Critics say the move could have unintended consequences such as shortages of overdose antidote kits for street drug users.

The guidance tells doctors to consider prescribing the antidote to patients on high doses of opioids, heavy drinkers and people with sleep apnea.


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