Yes, it would be great if we didn't need overdose-reversing Narcan. Unfortunately, that day hasn't yet come. And until it does come, free Narcan will be as welcome as rain in the Sahara.
Why? Because Narcan saves lives. It's that simple. And so long as there are opioid abusers out there, it's also that essential.
FREE NARCAN DAY
That certainly must be the bright idea behind Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe's administration decision to christen December 13th Free Narcan Day. Okay, so the day doesn't officially have a name. But it is part of Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week. Whatever you call it, the initiative's objective remains the same. And that's to give out free Narcan to each and every Pennsylvanian who needs it.
That's right. On December 13th, from 11am to 7pm, any state resident can hit one of eighty locations and pick up a package of the life-saving overdose-reversing drug naloxone (brand name Narcan). The state doesn't say how much free Narcan a person can get. But a map of all the locations where it will be available can be found here.
The free narcan initiative follows PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine's issuing a standing order naloxone prescription to any Pennsylvanian who may need it. Prior to that, those in need of the anti-overdose drug would have to first obtain a prescription from a doctor. That standing order will remain in effect even after the mass naloxone giveaway day.
How does Narcan work? "Naloxone has one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system and save someone’s life," said Secretary Levine. "Every Pennsylvanian can save a life by having naloxone on hand and using it if they come across someone who has overdosed."
Since November 2014, more than 20,000 people have been revived with naloxone by police officers and EMS providers in Pennsylvania. That's 20,000 times addicts have been provided a chance to seek treatment and turn around their lives.
OTHER PLACES TO GET FREE NARCAN
Naloxone is available without a prescription in most states. But that sometimes comes with nominal costs. However, many cities and states have instituted free Narcan programs. Here are some of those that do:
- New York City: community-based organizations in all five boroughs provide free Narcan. Find one near you.
- Oklahoma: the state's Community Action Network has partnered with several organizations to provide consumers with latest information concerning Naloxone availability. To find a Naloxone distributor near you, text the word “Naloxone” to *55155, or log on to OK I'm Ready for a map of the state's 93 free Narcan providers.
- St. Louis: the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse has a supply of free Narcan. Call 314-962-3456 or send an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll receive brief training on how to use naloxone and two doses, at no cost/li>
- Cleveland: MetroHealth System's Project DAWN has free Narcan for any Cuyahoga County resident who needs it. The opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution program also provides free training in naloxone use. For more information call 216-778-5677 or click here to find a location near you.
- Public Libraries and YMCAs. Every public library and YMCA in the U.S. is soon be get free Narcan. So says Emergent BioSolutions, which recently completed its acquisition of Narcan maker Adapt Pharma. Emergent will provide a free Narcan kit including two doses of the nasal spray, as well as educational materials, to each of the 16,568 public libraries and 2,700 YMCAs in the U.S. The initiative builds on the Narcan in Schools program, through which the company offers four free doses of Narcan to each U.S. high school and up to eight doses to degree-granting two- or four-year institutions.
Do we at Recovery Boot Camp wish there was no longer a need for Narcan, free or otherwise? You bet. But at the same time, we're damn glad that it's here. We can't count the number of addicted men whose lives were saved by the overdose-reversing drug. Nor can we count the number of addicted men who followed up their overdoses with treatment and are now living full and sober lives. Consequently we've got nothing but praise for all the free Narcan initiatives. Remember though, that Narcan may save a life now. But addiction treatment can save a life forever.
This state is giving away the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Click here to find out where you can get your own free Narcan.