In Central New York, a breakthrough development has occurred regarding Narcan, the lifesaving drug used to combat opioid overdoses. This vital medication is no longer confined to the pharmacy counter, as major chain drugstores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Kinney’s are introducing over-the-counter options for Narcan.
Individuals can now purchase a two-pack of Narcan nasal spray without the need for a prescription, and it is readily available at the suggested retail price of $44.99. This change follows the federal approval of an over-the-counter version earlier this year, making it more accessible to New Yorkers. A state health department order from a year ago also played a crucial role in making Narcan available at any pharmacy without a prescription.
Opioid overdoses claim the lives of more than 100 people each year in Onondaga County and a staggering 80,000 individuals nationwide. Narcan, or naloxone HCI, has been instrumental in saving the lives of 75% or more of those who receive it in a timely manner.
Here are the key details about this new distribution method for Narcan:Read:10 Most Dangerous Drug Interactions
Where to Find It?
Kinney Drugs recently introduced over-the-counter displays for Narcan, coinciding with National Overdose Awareness Day.
These Narcan boxes are typically located in the pain aisle, while some stores may also display them prominently in the pharmacy section, not behind the counter. Kinney’s President, John Marraffa, emphasizes that Narcan won’t be locked up; it can be added to your shopping cart and purchased without the need to ask for it.
Walgreens is expected to stock over-the-counter Narcan by the end of the week, while Rite Aid plans to make it available in early September.
In the future, corner stores and other businesses near individuals at risk of overdose may also carry Narcan. It will also be accessible through online orders from retailers like Walmart, Target, or Amazon, which previously required shipping through their pharmacies.
Cost of narcan
The price tag of $44.99 for over-the-counter Narcan may be a drawback for some, as it can be challenging for vulnerable populations to afford. However, there is a potential cost-saving advantage for those with prescription drug coverage, including Medicaid or Medicare beneficiaries. These individuals may be eligible for a state subsidy covering $40 of their co-pay. While prescription insurance plans vary, many New Yorkers can obtain Narcan for free or a nominal $5 fee from a state pharmacy. Even at $44.99, the over-the-counter price remains more affordable than the pharmacy’s non-insurance price for naloxone, which is at least $75. For reference, Amazon’s online pharmacy previously sold Narcan for $119.26 without insurance.Read:NFL: A Thrilling Experience
Why Choose Over the Counter
Purchasing Narcan out-of-pocket offers a significant advantage—it can be acquired by anyone without the need to answer questions or disclose personal information. If you have insurance, your carrier will not be notified of the purchase, and you won’t need to consult with a pharmacist. This streamlined process aims to reduce the stigma often associated with Narcan.
For those who prefer free options, drug treatment providers will continue to provide free naloxone as they have in the past. The Onondaga County health department keeps a record of “naloxboxes” supplied by the Prevention Network, containing freely available naloxone. Mandated training schedules are also available for those who wish to learn how to use the drug effectively. Alternatively, online naloxone training is an option. Additionally, you can obtain Narcan at no cost from the Onondaga County health department by calling or texting (315) 418-5365.
For more information on using Narcan, seeking help, and when to call 911, please refer to local resources and support services.