By Stefan Oliva SYRACUSE (NCC News) – Starting tomorrow, naloxone will be available in pharmacies statewide. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses.
Before January 2016, it was only possible to get Naloxone with a prescription or through a registered opioid overdose prevention program. Making the drug more affordable adds to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiative early last year to make Narcan available in pharmacies without a prescription.
According to the press release from Cuomo’s office that came out this morning, people who have prescription coverage, including Medicaid and Medicare, will get up to $40 in co-pay assistance, which will either make the drug free or fairly cheap. Uninsured people and those without prescription coverage, however, can get the medicine for free through one of the state’s registered opioid overdose prevention programs.
There are 15 such programs in Onondaga County and Central New York has 50. Some of the programs on the list are also police departments, in which either some or all of the officers carry Narcan. According to Executive Director of the Central New York Emergency Medical Services, Susie Surprenant, emergency responders also play a crucial role. “When we can provide that care in the community, no matter what part of the region, that’s an important component,” she said.
Paul Smyth, manager of the Emergency Medical Services at Syracuse University, agrees.
“You’re there to help somebody,” Smyth said, “so it’s a good feeling to take somebody who is barely breathing because they’ve taken too much of an opiet and within minutes take them to…kind of awake.”