Supply shortage of overdose drug causes concerns

A supply shortage of the lifesaving overdose drug Naloxone is making national news.

The drug brings people who have overdosed back from the edge of death.

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In this heroin crisis, everyone from police officers to mothers and fathers are carrying the drug.

A manufacturing issue stopped Pfizer production of the drug in April, and drug programs and harm reduction clinics around the country are getting desperate.

"I was shocked when you told me about this shortage," said Ginger Cato, director of the Rob Constantine Recovery Community and Outreach Center. "It’s people’s lives, that’s what it all boils down to. If you don’t have Naloxone, you’re not saving people’s lives.

They are relieved and grateful to have a strong supply at the Rob Constantine Recovery Center in Gloversville.

They get their Naloxone from the state Health Department.

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The shortage appears to be mostly affecting places that get the Pfizer drug from a major distributor, a large buyer’s club.

"It’s a lifesaver," said Cato. "It’s extremely important. It’s life and death."

Her center tries to get as much Narcan, with training, out to the community as possible.

This year, they’ve already given out more than 175 of their overdose rescue kits.

"We trained a person how to reverse an overdose. She was having dinner, was walking back to her car, and there was a person overdosing on the sidewalk, and she was able to save that person’s life," said Cato.

Training takes just a couple of minutes to be armed in the battle against an epidemic that’s left so many people dead.

"It doesn’t matter how much money your family makes or what side of the tracks, so to speak, you live on," said Cato. "It doesn’t discriminate."

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The crisis continues. In Fulton County this month alone, they have already had about a dozen overdoses, including two this week.

Naloxone is a lifeline experts hope will continue to be readily available here.