WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says it’s considering a plan to require opioid overdose reversal drugs like naloxone in emergency medical kits on board passenger aircraft.
The move follows pressure from Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin, who has been urging the FAA to follow congressional recommendations to require the life-saving drug on all airlines.
“The opioid crisis has gripped every state, every district in the country,” Langevin said. “Last August, I led a letter to the FAA administrator asking that they include and look at including naloxone.”
Langevin says this comes after an airline passenger died from an overdose while flying from Boston to Los Angeles in July.
“I think the airlines need to be prepared for any type of emergency,” he added.
In a letter to lawmakers, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said the agency is currently reviewing the best way for air carriers to include opioid antagonists like naloxone as part of onboard emergency medical kits.
Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths have occurred in the U.S. and experts say naloxone could be part of the solution.
Dr. Zeina Saliba, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University, calls the drug an antidote to an overdose.
“Naloxone is blocking or reversing the effects of opiates,” she explained. “It is absolutely important because it is life-saving.”
Current law already allows airlines to carry naloxone but Langevin’s request would make it a requirement.