Airlines Have Started Carrying Narcan Onboard Amid Opioid Epidemic

Jul 19, 2019

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Airlines have not been insulated from the epidemic of opioid abuse in the United States. Earlier this month,  a man died from an overdose onboard a Delta Air Lines flight, according to a passenger. Yahoo News reported that the death occurred aboard a flight from Boston to Los Angeles.

While Delta wouldn’t comment on any specifics citing privacy concerns, the carrier said that it will issue Narcan, the lifesaving opioid blocker, in its onboard emergency kits beginning this fall.

Delta is not alone in its decision to stock the medication. United Airlines told TPG it already carries Naloxone, the active chemical in the medication sold as Narcan, on its flights. American Airlines told us that the drug is available on 79% of its routes, and that it will equip the rest of its aircraft by the end of the year.

Southwest Airlines does not stock Naloxone in its emergency kits, and JetBlue did not respond by time of publication.

The decision of some airlines to carry Narcan comes after requests from flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) issued a request to the Federal Aviation Administration that it require airlines carry opioid blockers on passenger flights in February of 2018. After the death on the Delta flight, AFA president Sara Nelson reaffirmed the call to carry the drug:

“Flight Attendants are aviation’s first responders and we need the proper tools to respond and save lives,” said Nelson.

Featured photo by Rawpixel/Unsplash.

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