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Narcan is Now Available Over-the-Counter, Kinney Drugs President says this could Save Lives

Woman holds a box of Narcan in a grocery store
Mitch Legan/WTIU/WFIU News
Narcan can now be easily accessed and administered. President of Kinney Drugs suggested buying the drug as a precaution.

The overdose antidote drug, Narcan, is now available over-the-counter, which will allow people to be better prepared to administer it quickly.

In the past, Narcan was only available to persons in emergency situations from pharmacists, according to John Muraffa, Kinney Drugs President. He said sometimes pharmacists at Kinney Drugs were administering the drug, or it was being given to an overdose victim in their parking lot.

Now, over-the-counter doses of Narcan, also known by its generic term, naloxone, can be bought as a precaution.

“I think about college aged kids (and) parents of college aged kids. I think about concert goers, anybody that's going to be in an environment where something could happen. It's (Narcan) almost like an EpiPen where you never want to use it, but you always want to have it. You really want to have the emergency protection available in your pocket or somewhere close to you in case something were to happen. I think a lot of people do need to have this in their medicine cabinets,” said Muraffa.

As a pharmacist himself, Muraffa said overdoses can happen from both drug abuse and accidents. Accidents may occur among people who have opioid painkillers and don’t follow instructions on their use, according to Muraffa.

He said Narcan is easy to administer for a person in crisis and has the potential to help save lives.

“It's supposed to revive a patient if a patient were to either overdose or accidentally overdose. Anybody can administer Narcan to another individual. It's used to remove the opioid from the opioid receptors in an individual's body,” said Muraffa.

Interestingly, Muraffa suggested the use of Narcan and its generic counterpart naloxone can be a step toward treating addiction problems.

“When you think about all of the different levers that everybody is trying to pull to reduce the use of opioids and the addiction to opioids, I think Narcan is one of those resources. Is it the magic bullet? No, because it's a treatment for an overdose. Again, I think it's just one, it's another avenue, another accessibility point for a patient, for a caregiver to have to kind of close the circle on the prevention, use (and) treatment of opioids,” said Muraffa.

Examples of opioids include fentanyl, oxycodone, heroin, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Naloxone can be administered as a nasal spray or it can be injected into one’s muscle, under the skin or into the veins, according to NIDA.

Muraffa said he is proud that Kinney Drugs was first in the country to sell the lifesaving treatment since this new change.

He said as a pharmacist and as a father, he believed making Narcan available over-the-counter is the right thing to do.

In light of Narcan's new easy accessibility, persons took to social media sharing their stories on the importance of having Narcan in one's possession.

For more information on Narcan and how to administer it, visit

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.