What we’re reading: Narcan approved for over-the-counter purchase, Vanuatu secures historic UN vote and more



Jessie Blanchard’s jeep bumper shows a sticker with the slogan “Yes We Narcan,” Jan. 23, 2023, in Albany, Ga. Naloxone, available as a nasal spray and in an injectable form, is a key tool in the battle against a nationwide overdose crisis. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, President Joe Biden faced harsh rebukes from multiple angles as he spoke during his State of the Union address about trying to contain a drug overdose crisis driven by powerful illicit synthetic opioids like fentanyl, that has been killing more than 100,000 people a year in the U.S. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

By Cate Stewart, staff writer

Over-the-counter Narcan is approved by FDA to reduce drug overdoses

Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, was approved for over-the-counter use on Wednesday, according to ABC News. 

“We encourage the manufacturer to make accessibility to the product a priority by making it available as soon as possible and at an affordable price,” said Dr. Robert M. Califf, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

Advocates say this is a milestone for combating the opioid epidemic in the United States.

According to the CDC, there were 101,750 fatal drug overdoses between October 2021 and October 2022, primarily caused by synthetic opioids. 

Vanuatu secures historic UN vote

The Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu celebrates the U.N. International Court of Justice’s decision to deliver an advisory opinion on what responsibilities governments have in the fight against climate change, according to CNN

Vanuatu called on the U.N. in 2021 to address how climate change has become a human rights issue. This is the first time the highest international court has addressed the climate change crisis. 

Today we have witnessed a win for climate justice of epic proportions,” said Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Ishmael Kalsakau.

Climate justice is both a moral imperative and a prerequisite for effective global climate action,” said António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, when speaking to the General Assembly.

The Decision was supported by 130 countries, not including the U.S. and China, two of the world’s largest climate polluters, according to CNN.

Motion to end Seattle police department’s consent decree

The Department of Justice motioned to end the decade-long consent decree between themselves and the Seattle police department on Tuesday, according to The Hill.  

In the court filing, the city of Seattle and the Justice Department said the institution has eliminated the pattern of using excessive force and transformed its organization to be more community centered. 

“Seattle stands as a model for the kind of change and reform that can be achieved,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. 

CNN said the joint motion to end the consent decree marks a milestone in displaying how supervision executes police reformation. 

Cattle workers infected by livestock-based flu type

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are taking much more preventive actions against new diseases, specifically, influenza D, according to NPR

Stephen Goldstein, a virologist at the University of Utah, said animal viruses are much more common in people than typically thought. Animal viruses are reported as the common cold or flu. 

Influenza D has been diagnosed in high percentages in cattle workers, but the Journal of Clinical Virology said only about 18% of the general population had shown signs of being infected. 

Most virus research is done on wild animals, but viruses like influenza D should push scientists to focus more on viruses already found in domestic animals and people, said Goldstein. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told NPR that there is currently no surveillance system in place for influenza D because it has not caused any significant harm. A similar view of the coronavirus was held for a long time.