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New opioid overdose reversal drug lasts longer than Narcan

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While treatments like Narcan have been successful in the fight against opioid overdoses, many say they are not as effective when it comes to fentanyl. However, there is a new drug that could change that. The Albany County Sheriff is calling for more access to the lifesaving tool, OPVEE.

“From the top of last year up to the end of November, we lost 125 souls in our county,” said Sheriff Craig Apple.  The sheriff is on the front lines of the battle and says OPVEE, the stronger version of Narcan, is needed and it’s needed now.

“We’re on track, right now, to have our highest year of overdoses, ever. Where we are looking at, we could be at 650 even to the 700s for the year of 2024,” said Apple.

OPVEE reverses the effects of fentanyl much quicker and with fewer doses than Narcan. The sheriff welcomes any new weapon to fight the war on opioids.  “I’m not saying this is the only drug out there that works. What I’m saying is it’s just another tool in our toolbox,” said Apple.

“You may get those results quicker however it’s harming the individual more” said Vanessa Cappon the Assistant Director of Program Services with Alliance for Positive Health says more information is needed.

“There’s not a lot of data behind the fentanyl fighters and being able to utilize that.  Instead, I think that when a person is experiencing an overdose that panic takes over and you administer that naloxone, and you don’t have that immediate, ‘Oh they’re good. They’re back. They’re good. They’re breathing,’” said Cappon.  

Apple wants the FDA to allow the drug to be sold over the counter. But Cappon disagrees saying a patient is in withdrawal much longer with OPVEE and that could be dangerous. “You’re going to put an individual into a greater withdrawal and that it also puts them at a greater risk of future overdoses. I think we need to go back to the education on how to use the naloxone properly,” said Cappon.

“You’re good for about 90 minutes. If you don’t get medical attention, you could in fact overdose again or you could go get high again. With OPVEE you can’t,” said Apple.

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