Each kit has two doses of the drug in nasal spray form. Kevin Gabbert, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says naloxone usually costs about $150 at a pharmacy.
“We want to put it in the hands of those individuals that may find themselves in a situation where they encounter somebody that’s experiencing an opioid overdose,” Gabbert says. “Or perhaps they use opioids themselves and there’s some concern, and they want to have naloxone available and make family members or friends aware that they’re carrying this.”
State health officials say there were just over 200 opioid-related overdose deaths in Iowa last year. Gabbert says the free kits are an opportunity for people most at risk of witnessing or experiencing an opioid overdose to get naloxone.
“If they were to go in and be expected to pay $140, many might not be able to afford that and so therefore wouldn’t get the medication.” Naloxone, under the brand name Narcan, can stop opioid overdoses, but people should still seek medical attention after using it. The state used federal grant funds to buy the naloxone at a reduced price.
A state law passed in 2016 eased restrictions on naloxone, allowing adults who are at risk of opioid-related overdose — and their family and friends — to buy the drug from a pharmacy without a prescription.
(By Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio)