A local agency is changing how much of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan it distributes. The State is now offering a Nacan Co-Payment Program that aims to get more kits into the hands of families, friends and opioid drug users. ACR Health distributed 750 kits from the state last year, which the agency says resulted in saving at least 52 people. Overdose Prevention Coordinator Kevin Donovan says most pharmacy chains participate in the state’s program.
"The person can go to the pharmacist, say I'd like to carry Narcan, please bill my insurance. Their insurance will cover the cost, and the state department of health covers the cost of the co-pay of up to $40."
Donovan encourages those who know of someone battling opioid or heroin drug addiction to get trained, even if there are positive signs that drug abuse treatment is working.
"Even if that person is in recover, especially if they're in recovery, for that family to have Narcan at home. A lot of the overdoses happen when the person gets clean and their tolerance is lower. Relapse is often part of the process, and that first relapse is often fatal."
He adds that pharmacies will also be able to provide Narcan outside of ACR’s normal business hours. Director of Syringe Exchange Julia LeVere says, they used to distribute the overdose reversal drugs to EVERYONE who received training. Now, they will only offer them by request.
"I think it's actually an opportunity to get access to Narcan, that may not be engaging with ACR Health for whatever reason. It provides an opportunity for many more people in New York to go to a pharmacy and get Narcan. By getting the word out, people are going to know they can."
The agency says drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for those under the age of 50. They are also encouraging all businesses that serve the public to sign-up for their free training.