BUSINESS

FDA clears new, easy-to-use version of heroin antidote

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved an easy-to-use version of the life-saving drug that reverses heroin and prescription painkiller overdoses, as communities across the country grapple with a wave of drug abuse.

The reformulated drug, sold as Narcan, comes as a nasal spray and should help first responders, police and others deliver the antidote in emergency situations. Known generically as naloxone, the drug reverses the effects of opioids — drugs that include legal painkillers such as oxycodone and illegal narcotics such as heroin.

Government officials from the White House to the local level have called prescription opioid abuse a "national crisis," tied to more than 16,000 deaths in 2013. Another 8,000 additional deaths involved heroin, which many addicts switch to after becoming addicted to more-expensive legal drugs.