A powerful antidote that can reverse the potentially deadly effects of opiate drug overdoses — including those from prescription painkillers — has saved more than 10,000 lives in 15 years, but it’s still little-known and too hard to get, a new report shows.

Naloxone, a drug sold as Narcan, is so effective that it can revive virtually all victims of the ODs within minutes using a simple shot or, more easily, a nasal spray. It was first distributed through needle exchange programs in the mid-1990s to prevent deaths of injection heroin users.

Increasingly, though, naloxone is showing up in the medicine cabinets, kitchen cupboards and even the handbags of middle-class moms as some mainstream families find themselves grappling with escalating opiate addiction in their teens and young adults.

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