Honolulu mandates that bars, nightclubs, restaurants carry anti-overdose medication

Honolulu on Monday became the first American city to require that bars, nightclubs and restaurants carry the anti-overdose medication naloxone. 

“Naloxone is a necessary tool these days in light of the national opioid epidemic,” Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, a member of Honolulu City Council, old the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It should be available and accessible in as many places as possible, in the same way we have fire extinguishers and defibrillators in case of emergencies.”

“This new law will not only save lives, it will hopefully set an example for other cities throughout the United States,” he added.

The drug, known by its trade name Narcan, is hailed by law enforcement and medical professionals as a critical tool in preventing opioid overdose deaths. It was first distributed for over-the-counter use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early September.

“Naloxone is a critical tool in addressing opioid overdoses and today’s approval underscores the extensive efforts the agency has undertaken to combat the overdose crisis,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in March.

The drug is deployed using a nasal spray that can revive a person going through an opioid overdose.

Hawaii has the sixth-lowest opioid death rate per capita compared with other states, with 221 people dying of opioid overdoses in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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