The United States Surgeon General issued a national advisory Thursday encouraging people to carry the opioid overdose-reserving drug, naloxone.
The move underscores the growing urgency to address the opioid epidemic, which the Trump administration has deemed a public health crisis.
The advisory, issued by Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, said keeping naloxone nearby and knowing how to use it could save a life.
"Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose — that’s one person every 12.5 minutes," Adams said in a statement. "It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77 percent of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home."
Naloxone, which can be administered through a nasal mist or by injection, blocks the effects of an overdose and revives the victim. The drug has traditionally been carried by first responders, but the new advisory notes that everyday Americans, especially those know someone at risk for an opioid overdose, can play an important role in addressing the public health crisis.
West Virginia had the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the nation in 2016, according to federal data.
The national advisory is the first issued by the Surgeon General since 2005.