Naloxone now available free-of-charge for at-risk youth in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health have collaborated to provide the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to youths 19 years old and younger in areas of the state with high rates of opioid abuse, according to The Oklahoman.

In 2015, the state made naloxone available over the counter at pharmacies across the state, including Walgreens. The new initiative expands access to the drug among the state's youth population in at-risk counties at no cost.

"Misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers continues to be a public health concern for Oklahomans of all ages," said Jeff Dismukes, spokesman at the state mental health agency, according to the Oklahoman. "In 2013, Oklahoma's age-adjusted overdose death rates were higher than the national average. Thirteen high-risk counties were identified in hopes that access to naloxone kits would decrease the number of prescription drug overdose deaths in the 19-and-under age group."

In a 2010 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment, approximately 22 percent of high school seniors reported abusing prescription drugs.

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