Nabarun Dasgupta
Heather Craig

Few Americans have done more to prevent drug–overdose deaths than Nabarun Dasgupta. In the past few years, the scientist at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health helped launch a program through the nonprofit Remedy Alliance that cleared bottlenecks stopping the opioid-overdose-reversing drug naloxone from getting to the front lines. After creating new supply arrangements and buying the treatment in bulk, the organization distributed over 1.6 million doses across the country in the past year, helping end a life-threatening shortage of the drug.

Dasgupta—who keeps photos of people who have died of drug overdoses on his desk, to remind him of how much work there is yet to be done—also devised a system of swabbing street drugs and testing them at UNC, collecting valuable information to help scientists and drug users alike. His aim, he says, is to use science to answer big questions about drugs. “With 100,000 people dying a year, it’s not theoretical,” he says.

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