Makers of Narcan speak out on Memphis opioid epidemic

WATCH: Makers of narcan address opioid epidemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — 225 Shelby County residents have already died this year because of suspected drug overdoses. It only took 264 days for the death total to surpass all of 2018.

FOX13 spoke with Thom Duddy, Emergent BioSolutions VP of Communications, the company behind Narcan. ​​​​​​

Narcan is the life-saving nasal spray that can treat narcotic overdoses.

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“We got to start to get this death rate to get down and down and down. And all we’re seeing it is going up and up and up,” Duddy told FOX13.

“I’ve been in the pharmaceutical industry for 20 years and I never ever thought that we’d be in this situation.”

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According to Emergent BioSolutions, through the first 8 months of 2019, about 4,000,000 opioid prescriptions have been dispensed in all of Tennessee.

“It’s trending that every man, woman and child can have an opioid description.”

Despite the high amount of prescriptions, that number is encouraging because its reportedly down 25% from last year.

So, what’s next? A more proactive measure?

“We are looking at potential candidates that will treat opioid use disorder. So, once the person has been reversed or maybe they hopefully never had to be reversed with Narcan or Naloxone, but they decide they want to stop, we need can give them therapies that can help them overcome their addiction.”