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State officials launch free naloxone initiative in pharmacies

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 10:04 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - State agencies will be coordinating a new effort to make an antidote to an opioid overdose available for free at pharmacies in the state.

The Iowa Department of Public Health, along with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, are partnering for the program. It will allow anybody 18 years or older to request to be screened by a pharmacist for eligibility to receive up to two naloxone, also known under its marketing name NARCAN, 4mg nasal spray kits for free.

“This allows Iowans to be prepared in the event they encounter someone experiencing a suspected opioid overdose, or perhaps use opioids themselves and want others they’re involved with to know they have it,” Kevin Gabbert, IDPH opioid initiatives director, said, in a statement. “While the dynamics of opioid misuse are complicated, greater availability of naloxone can help keep people alive, offer a chance to get help, and begin a journey of recovery.”

This is the latest in the state’s efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths, which have included issuing naloxone kits to law enforcement, making the drug available without a prescription, and other training efforts.

Deaths from opioid overdoses in Iowa were 206 in 2017, 137 in 2018, and a preliminary count of 155 in 2019.

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