New free NARCAN program aims to reduce overdose deaths

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 7:50 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Overdoses due to opioids continue to rise in the state of Iowa, but state officials hope that a new program can help reverse that trend

At least 155 people died from overdoses in 2019, according to early estimates, up from 137 in 2018.

Now, the state is partnering with local pharmacies to offer more NARCAN, which is a nasal spray to treat opioid overdoses that is also known as naloxone. Eligible families in Iowa are able to get NARCAN for free at pharmacies in the state of Iowa. It’s a partnership between the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.

Advocates have long said this needs to be more readily available for family members of those who struggle with addiction.

Previously, families would have to get a prescription or a voucher to pick up NARCAN. But, now, there is a screening process at the pharmacy, where people learn how to administer NARCAN and learn that is only used for opioid overdoes.

“What we know about the patients that we have and their loved ones, especially right now in COVID, if we can eliminate barriers they can access it quickly and that’s what we want more than anything,” Leslie Mussmann, director of prevention services with the Area Substance Abuse Council, said.

People must be at least 18 years old for the program. They can pick up two spray kits at a time.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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