CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Naloxone, better known by the brand name Narcan, will soon be available in West Virginia without a prescription after the FDA approved over-the-counter sales across the U.S.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the opioid overdose antidote, Narcan nasal spray, for over-the-counter sales. Up until now, four-milligram naloxone has only been available through prescription.

But starting sometime this summer, anyone in the public can go into a local drug store, convenience store, gas station, or even online to buy it.

Health officials at the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, including Dr. Susan Bissett, said Narcan is known as the standard opioid overdose medication.

Dr. Bissett said it can also be used to treat synthetic opioid overdoses, including fentanyl.

“Sometimes when we think about naloxone, we think that it’s only for people who are in active addiction or are actively using opioids. We’re hearing about younger children getting ahold of it in vape pens, we’re hearing about students on college campuses taking counterfeit Adderall pills that are laced with it,” Dr. Bissett said.

In addition to treating overdoses, Dr. Bissett adds that changing Narcan to a nonprescription drug will also combat the stigma surrounding the treatment.

“The response to reversing an overdose is also a prescription drug. I think there’s some hesitancy on the part of some people to respond to an overdose because of that prescription drug status,” Dr. Bissett said. “In making it more over the counter, it normalizes it a little bit. It makes people feel a bit safer in using it or administering it or responding.”

Kenny Matthews, the OneBox Coordinator at the Institute, says Narcan’s FDA approval is a big win, and has the potential to save thousands of people.

“It allows everybody the chance to have the life-saving medication on them for any emergency. It allows people to basically come back to life,” Matthews said.

It is unknown at this time how much Narcan will cost when it hits shelves this summer.