COLUMBUS, Ohio — Many people die from accidental overdoses every year in Ohio. 

What You Need To Know

  • The FDA approved over-the-counter Narcan

  • Narcan rapidly reverses the effects of any opioid overdose

  • Consumers will soon be able to find it at their local grocery stores and pharmacies

  • The timelines for availability and price for the over-the-counter naloxone will depend on the manufacturer

On any given day, you’ll find Tony Miller at the park with his son Allen. They love to play Pokemon. Time with his son in the park is a reality he never thought he’d have, because of his struggle with addiction.

“I put the percocet down my throat, and it was the last time I ever wanted to do anything else,” said Miller. 

His addiction started as a prescription for pain medication and turned into an addiction to heroin over time. Going back and forth with various recovery programs, he struggled staying clean.

He bought drugs he didn’t know were laced with fentanyl and overdosed. Miller said that if it wasn’t for his friend having Narcan on hand, he wouldn’t be here today.

“They had a pouch on with gloves and, you know, the nasal spray and they knew what was going on because, you know, it wasn't a secret at that time,” said Miller. “They gave it to me and that stuff works fast.”

Miller said that while the Food and Drug Administration is making Narcan more accessible, it’s just the first step.

“Narcan is a great help along the way,” said Miller. “It may keep somebody alive long enough to make the decision to get the help, but unless that person is willing and ready to get the help, they're not going to get it.”

Miller got the help he needed by enrolling in a program at CompDrug Columbus. He received counseling, addiction services and more.

“I can proudly say from the first time I dropped a clean drug test there, I've never, never relapsed,” said Miller. 

CompDrug is not the only organization that provides addiction services. Maryhaven in Columbus has carried Narcan for a while and said that the accessibility the FDA is providing will save lives.

“It's a barrier to have it not readily available at your local grocery store if you're going shopping,” said Tony Yucus, who serves as a clinical Manager at Maryhaven. "If I'm picking up groceries after work and I just so happen to see that I'm like, oh, maybe I'll pick them up because it could save someone's life.”

Miller has been clean for as long as his son, Allen, is alive. He said his family is what keeps him going.

“I see things differently now,” said Miller. "I'm a little bit older, a little bit more mature and I realize it's, you know, there's just a different way to live life now, one that I didn't see back then and this is a whole new experience and a whole new opportunity that I don't feel like I ever had before. I'm blessed to have it.”

The timelines for availability and price for the over the counter naloxone will depend on the manufacturer and hasn’t been released at this time.