Hundreds of NJ pharmacies are handing out free overdose antidote
💉 Hundreds of NJ pharmacies are handing out naloxone for free
💉 A list of participating pharmacies can be found on a newly launched state website
💉 The naloxone kits are offered anonymously and at no cost
In January, during his State of the State address, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the Naloxone365 Initiative, part of the administration’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis in the state and save lives by getting the opioid antidote naloxone into as many hands as possible.
Recently, the state announced the launch of StopOverdoses.nj.gov, where residents can find pharmacies offering life-saving naloxone anonymously and at no cost.
Naloxone is the antidote for someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose. It helps reverse the impact of the overdose from the opioids, said Valerie Mielke, assistant commissioner for the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“Naloxone is not just an opportunity to save lives. it’s an opportunity to give more people struggling with addiction the chance to treat the effects substance use disorder has on their lives,” Mielke said.
In 2021, 3,124 individuals in New Jersey died from a suspected drug overdose, according to the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner. In 2022, 2,892 individuals died from a suspected overdose. This was the first time that number decreased in the last five years.
According to the Office of the New Jersey State Attorney General, there were 1,365 suspected overdose deaths in the state between Jan 1, 2023, and June 20, 2023. During that same period, there were 7,529 naloxone administrations and 1,605,796 opioid prescriptions.
With the Nalaxone365 Initiative, those ages 14 and older can request and obtain naloxone at participating pharmacies for free without having to provide a name a reason, a prescription, or proof of insurance, Mielke said.
While there is no limit to how many times an individual can visit a pharmacy since it is anonymous and the state is not keeping track, only one two-dose naloxone nasal spray kit will be provided per visit, she said.
Mielke noted that giving people this life-saving antidote is an opportunity to get people on the path to recovery by connecting them to treatment.
“It literally saves lives,” she said.
As of today, 610 pharmacies are participating in the program. A list of those pharmacies can be found here. Since January, Mielke said 40,687 naloxone kits have already been distributed.
Each pharmacy will bill the State Department of Human Services for the cost of the antidote.
The Department continues to work to get more pharmacies to join.