New Jersey will offer the opioid overdose-reversal drug Narcan for free at pharmacies later this month, authorities announced Wednesday.
But be warned: Health and law enforcement professionals emphasize that nalaxone isn't a miracle drug or fallback option. Opioid users can still die depending on how much is in their system and in what combination.
State residents can obtain a packet containing two doses of the nasal spray anonymously without a prescription or appointment from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26, Gov. Murphy and Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said.
The free doses will be available at 322 pharmacies, including several locations of Acme, CVS, Rite Aid, Sav-On, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Walmart, Weis Markets and independent pharmacies throughout the state, they said.
CLICK HERE FOR PARTICIPATING PHARMACIES: nj.gov/humanservices/stopoverdoses.
The doses will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. Those who obtain it will also be given information about addiction treatment and recovery.
This is the second New Jersey Narcan giveaway in little over a year. Residents collected 32,000 doses in June 2019.
“The ongoing opioid epidemic continues to devastate communities across our state,” Murphy said. “By expanding access to Naloxone, New Jerseyans will have this lifesaving medication readily available to help those who may be suffering from an overdose.”
“This is all about saving lives,” Johnson said. “We’re continuing to find innovative ways to combat this epidemic that has taken far too many lives. We urge everyone to visit a participating pharmacy to get a free pack of this overdose reversal drug because, quite frankly, you never know when you’re going to need it to save a life.”
Naloxone can in certain instances reverse overdoses from heroin and other opioids by blocking their effects on the brain.
Having more available -- either by people carrying it or putting it into first aid kits -- can only help, given how serious the opioid epidemic has become.
For that reason, New Jersey has distributed 53,000 free doses of naloxone to police departments, 11,352 free doses to EMS teams, 1,200 free doses to shelters for those experiencing homelessness and 400 free doses to libraries.
“Last year’s turnout showed there is a strong demand for naloxone. New Jerseyans stood up and said they want to help and be ready to have the opportunity to save someone’s life,” Johnson said. “We want to build on last year’s event and get naloxone into as many hands as possible. We want to save lives.”
NJ Addiction Treatment Hotline: 1-844-ReachNJ (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
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