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Hochul highlights availability of Narcan at pharmacies as FDA expands access nationwide


Tue, Sep 5th 2023 05:45 pm

New York State Department of Health announced standing order for naloxone at all pharmacies in August 2022; major pharmacy chains expanding access beginning this month following FDA ruling

Gov. Kathy Hochul highlighted 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 – 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 since 2006, and has been easier to obtain in New York state since August 2022 due to a statewide pharmacy standing order.

Hochul’s team said, “While it is likely that not all naloxone administrations are reported, over 35,000 naloxone administrations have been reported to the NYSDOH this time.”

Hochul said, “The opioid and overdose epidemic has impacted far too many New Yorkers. 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.”

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) Commissioner Dr. Chinazo Cunningham said, “We continue to see unprecedented numbers of overdose deaths throughout New York state and the rest of the country. We need to do everything we can to reverse this alarming trend. Naloxone has already prevented thousands of deaths across New York state, and increased access to this safe and effective medication will help save even more lives. Greater availability of naloxone is vital to our ongoing efforts to support those impacted by addiction.”

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “Opioid use disorder is a complex and common disease that affects many New Yorkers. The easy accessibility availability of naloxone (Narcan), now without a prescription, along with treatment programs, will help to save lives. Gov. Hochul, the state Health Department, and I will continue to highlight and address this critical issue with compassion and determination.”

Hochul’s team said, “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 that were secured by Attorney General Letitia James. 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.”

Additionally, New York state’s Interagency Task Force on Overdose Prevention recently held its. Led by commissioners Cunningham from the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports and McDonald from the New York State Department of Health, the multi-agency group will provide recommendations to increase programmatic coordination, analyze the success of existing state programs, and explore additional solutions to the opioid crisis.

Hochul’s team added, “New York state has instituted an aggressive, multipronged approach to addressing the overdose epidemic, and created a nation-leading continuum of addiction care with full prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services. Under Gov. Hochul’s leadership, the state has worked to expand access to traditional services, including harm reduction and crisis services, inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment programs, as well as medication to treat addiction, and mobile treatment and transportation services.”

The NYSDOH has more than 1,000 registered programs located throughout New York where individuals can be trained on how to get and administer naloxone at no cost. More information on overdose programs is available here.

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, seven-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (short code 467369). Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, residential or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS treatment availability dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov, or through the NYS OASAS website.

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