CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Narcan, the lifesaving medicine for someone experiencing an opioid overdose, will soon be on pharmacy shelves.

The FDA approved its over-the-counter availability Wednesday, but It won't be in stores for a few months.

"More community members will have access to Narcan, which is a lifesaving drug," said Norman Dorise from the Blue Ridge Health District in Charlottesville. "Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in opioid overdoses in our area."

There were about 2,600 drug overdose deaths in Virginia in 2021, which is a 78 percent increase over time from 2017.

Dorise said locally, it’s happening in places like the Haven homeless shelter.

But he says anyone can overdose, whether it's on prescription medication accidentally taken twice or aren't used up and gets used improperly or from an illegal substance.

"We want to make sure people have the Narcan so they can reverse that for either someone they love, someone they know, or maybe just a stranger on the street because you never know when someone is overdosing," he said.

BRHD gives out free Narcan on the third Monday of every month from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees can pick up one box, which contains two doses of the drug.

"The only thing you need to bring is yourself and a willingness to learn how to use the medication," Dorise said.  

The training process takes at most 20 minutes to “make sure you're empowered in being able to save somebody else's life."