The US Surgeon General's primary responsibility is to oversee topics of public health. Current SG Jerome Adams has recently issued a National Health Advisory, the first by a surgeon general in 13 years, about the drug Naloxone. It's commonly known as Narcan, and it can reverse an opioid overdose in seconds. Adams wants the public to have access to it, writing, "It' is time to make sure more people have access to this life-saving medication because 77% of opioid deaths occur outside of a medical setting and over half occur at home." There hasn't been a public health advisory from a Surgeon General since 2005 when pregnant women were told about the health risks of drinking alcohol.
With opioid overdose deaths reaching an all-time high in 2016 of over 42,000, the drug is a game-changer. CDC experts estimate that having Naloxone more readily available can save thousands of lives every year. While many opioid users struggle with recovery, addiction specialists agree that being saved from death by overdose could be just the wake-up call many need to seek treatment. The drug is available over the counter in some states and can be administered quickly via a nasal spray.