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State Expands Availability of Narcan at Pharmacies


The availability of naloxone, known widely by the commercial brand name Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of a drug overdose from heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids, is on the rise at New York State pharmacies. Major pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid are expected to begin carrying the medication both online and in stores beginning this month. The drug has been available for usage by non-medical personnel to prevent overdoses in New York State since 2006, and has been easier to obtain in New York state since August 2022 due to a statewide pharmacy standing order. While it is likely that not all naloxone administrations are reported, over 35,000 naloxone administrations have been reported to the NYSDOH this time. 

“The opioid and overdose epidemic has impacted far too many New Yorkers,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Alongside harm reduction, preventive, and treatment support programs, the expanded availability of Narcan has saved lives throughout New York State, and over-the-counter accessibility will save even more. We will continue to focus State resources towards addressing the overdose epidemic effectively and compassionately.”

This summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were an estimated 110,000 fatalities from drug overdoses, numbers consistent with rises in recent years. New York State is receiving more than $2 billion through various settlement agreements with opioid manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. A portion of the funding from settlements go directly to municipalities, with the remainder deposited into a dedicated fund to support prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery efforts to address the ongoing opioid epidemic, managed through the Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board.

Free naloxone, as well as fentanyl and xylazine test strips, can be ordered through a new ordering portal on the OASAS website. The agency also offers free virtual naloxone trainings, which can be found here.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

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