White House launches challenge to increase training & access to opioid overdose reversal medications

WASHINGTON – The White House has launched a new initiative to try to save lives as the nation battles its deadliest drug epidemic in history. The White House Challenge to Save Lives from Overdose encourages public and private organizations and businesses across the country to increase training and access to life-saving opioid overdose reversal medications, such as Narcan.

“As the drug supply has gotten more dangerous and lethal, we’re asking allies to join us because we all must do our part to keep communities safe,” the White House said in a fact sheet about the new initiative. 

Emily’s Hope Narcan Dispenser Box

Emily’s Hope is making this cause a priority with Narcan dispenser boxes. These boxes, which provide free access to the overdose reversal medication, are made possible thanks to a grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. Emily’s Hope is currently talking to privately owned businesses with public access about where they can place the boxes. Additionally, Emily’s Hope is collaborating with the community to position Narcan near defibrillators throughout the Sioux Falls area, ensuring immediate assistance during critical moments.

Emily’s Hope Narcan Dispenser Box

Other companies that have committed to this initiative include 17 U.S.-based airlines that are voluntarily equipping their aircraft with overdose reversal medications. The American Library Association is providing libraries with essential resources, including overdose response training for staff and the public. Moreover, they are contributing to the distribution of naloxone and overdose aid kits to the public. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the country’s second-largest, has placed naloxone in all K-12 schools, and adult and early education centers. 

Last year, Emily’s Hope reported a significant milestone when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the over-the-counter sale of Narcan in March 2023. This decision is a pivotal development as the United States grapples with its deadliest drug epidemic in history, with approximately 110,000 Americans dying from drug overdoses and fentanyl poisoning over the past year.