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Overdose reversal drug shortage a concern

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MERCER COUNTY, W. Va. (WVVA) - Accidental drug overdose leads in the cause of death among those under the age of 45, according to National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, and in the United States 70,000 drug overdose deaths occur annually.

This year could be even deadlier due to a shortage of an overdose reversal drug, Naloxone -- also known as Narcan.

Drug programs and harm reduction clinics around the country are getting desperate for the drug.

The Bluefield Rescue Squad's CEO Sean Cantrell says his agency responded to 23 overdose calls in the month of August -- and 21 so far in the month of September.

According to Princeton Rescue Squad's CEO Stacey Hicks, the shortage hasn't impacted the region -- however -- it is a concern.

"In Mercer County we average about one dose a day," Stacey Hicks. "If we didn't have Naloxone in our tool box, then people would die because the drug is so good that it litterally brings people back from the dead."

Hicks said so far this year they've responded to 273 overdose related calls - in 2020 that number was 396.

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Annick Joseph

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