Iowa pharmacies to offer free Narcan nasal spray

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – Narcan, a drug meant to help opioid-related overdoses, is being made available for free at Iowa pharmacies.

According to a release from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the state organization is partnering with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to make the Narcan 4mg nasal spray (naloxone) available for free at local pharmacies. This is being done to help reduce the number of opioid-related deaths in Iowa.

Individuals who are over 18 years of age can request to be screened by their pharmacist for eligibility to receive the medicine. If they’re approved, the pharmacy may give up to two kits of the nasal spray at no charge to the recipient.

“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,” IDPH Opioid Initiatives Director Kevin Gabbert said.

This is just another effort to help address opioid-involved deaths. Past efforts include issuing a statewide Naloxone Standing Order that made the medication available without a prescription, offering free naloxone kits to law enforcement agencies and emergency departments, and providing training to over 170 stakeholders statewide to be trainers on recognizing and responding to opioid overdose. 

“This program completely eliminates financial barriers to access the antidote to opioid overdoses,” said Andrew Funk, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy executive director.

Past efforts across the state have seemed to have led to a reduction in deaths, from 206 deaths in 2017 to 137 deaths in 2018. Even so, provisional data for 2019 shows that the decrease did not continue and the state experienced an increase, with 155 deaths reported to date.

Anyone who may be in a position to assist in the event of an opioid overdose is encouraged to receive Narcan education and have a supply on hand. For more information and to order naloxone, visit www.naloxoneiowa.org.

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