WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder is urging first responders to use an overdose-reversal drug to help save lives amid a nationwide resurgence in heroin abuse, a public health scourge claiming the lives of celebrities and young people alike.

When administered in a timely manner, the reversal drug commonly referred to as narcan can restore breathing to someone experiencing a heroin overdose.

Holder says heroin abuse is a national problem and the Justice Department says 17 states are taking steps to increase access to the reversal drug.

Indicative of the heroin's resurgence: In the past year, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a toxic mix of drugs including heroin and cocaine and "Glee" actor Cory Monteith died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol.

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