BREAKING: The Steuben County Health Department now is providing Naloxone nasal spray kits to its residents to help counteract drug overdoses and deaths, even among unsuspecting children.
The prescription drug, a primary brand being Narcan, is available to anyone at any pharmacy in the state through a standing order from the health department. The state also provides up to $40 for any co-pay required under a prescription drug plan.
Steuben County, however, in combating overdoses, is increasing its efforts by making the drug available to county residents for free by mail if an individual watches a nine-minute training video online and then fills out an order form. The prescription also can be obtained in person at health department locations by calling (607) 664-2438.
In addition, as we reported last week, 21 locations are being outfitted throughout Steuben County, through the Steuben Prevention Coalition, with wall-type Narcan dispensers.
The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General has been urging Americans to know how to use naloxone and “keep it within reach” to save a life.
In addition to the high number of deaths from drug overdoses as a result of fentanyl being added to illicit drugs, the office notes that overdoses can occur from excessive use of prescribed medicines, prescriptions mixed with others which are in conflict, along with alcohol, and children getting into improperly stored medicines, among other situations.
The New York State Police at Batavia, headquarters for Troop A which covers Allegany County and Western New York, reported earlier this month that a spike in use has resulted in 20 known overdoses and three deaths in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, half the fatalities in its enforcement jurisdiction.
Troopers also administered Narcan 57 times during the less than two-week period between January 27 and February 7.
Narcan, specifically designed to reverse opioid overdoses, can be administered through either an injection or nasal spray, according t11literature, and has no negative impact if it is given to an individual who is unconscious due to another cause.
The State Health Department notes that a 2011 Good Samaritan Law “provides significant legal protection against criminal charge and prosecution for possession of controlled substances, as well as possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia” in conjunction with reporting a drug overdose. “This protection,” it says, “applies to both the person seeking assistance in good faith as well as to the person who has overdosed. Class A-1 drug felonies as well as sale or intent to sell controlled substances are not covered by the law.”