Created: 04/03/2014 10:40 PM KAALtv.com
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It’s a split second decision, that can save the life of someone overdosing on drugs. Now the FDA has approved a heroin overdose antidote that family and friends can use at home. We talked with a mother who knows all too well the deadly effects heroin can have.
"That extra 10 minutes could possibly save their lives,” said Sharon Schlingmann. She’s talking about how sudden a heroin overdose can turn fatal. It's what took her daughter's life, and for Sharon, the idea of an easy to use antidote that could save lives is crucial. "Very important that if you have an addict in your house, you need to get this,” she said.
The FDA has approved an overdose antidote for heroin or other opioids that doctors could prescribe for family members or caregivers to keep on hand. It's a device that automatically injects the right dose of the drug naloxone before paramedics arrive.
Naloxone has been used by emergency responders for years, but with the rise in drug overdose deaths, there has been a growing push to equip more people with the protection. The FDA says the device makes it easy for anyone to use, it even provides verbal instructions.
But some argue that it could provide a false sense of security that abusers are somehow safe if they have an antidote nearby.
"It wouldn't matter if the pen was in the house or not. If the dope is there, they're going to do it. Heroin is that addictive that they are just going to do it, they could care less,” said Schlingmann.
The FDA says the antidote is not a substitute for immediate medical care. It's still too soon to say when the device will be available to the public and how much it will cost.