Published: Staten Island Advance by Nicholas Woodman
Images: Added by Drem from GoogleImages
Both Duane Reade and Walgreens began dispensing naloxone without a prescription in the 300 New York City locations beginning Monday — including 17 locations on Staten Island.
Naloxone was already available at most of Staten Island’s CVS and Rite Aid locations.
Naloxone is a safe medication that can prevent death in the case of an opioid overdose. The drug was already available without a prescription at most Rite Aid and CVS locations citywide, as of December 2015.
This new commitment brings naloxone availability to more than 650 participating pharmacies citywide.
For anyone who is unable to afford the insurance co-pay or the cost of the drug, naloxone may also be accessed free of charge at community-based opioid overdose prevention programs.
“Opioid overdose is preventable — yet it continues to claim hundreds of lives in our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By making naloxone even more widely available we are literally saving lives and helping New Yorkers onto the path to recovery.”
Staten Island has struggled with a heroin epidemic for years. In 2014, Staten Island recorded the highest rate of deaths from drug overdose citywide. Seventy-four Staten Islanders died from drug overdose in 2014, with 42 of those deaths being from heroin.
In addition, over 650 heroin arrests were recorded on Staten Island in 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, borough-wide prescription pill and heroin related arrests rose from under 100 to over 1,000.
Naloxone has been provided to all police officers and EMTs on Staten Island after a successful test in the 120 Precinct in 2014. Its use has since been expanded to the entire NYPD. Asst. Chief Edward Delatore, the Staten Island borough commander, credits naloxone to saving more than three dozen lives in the borough.
“The increased availability of naloxone is one available tool we have to save lives,” said Borough President James Oddo. “Thank you to Duane Reade and Walgreens for joining this effort. The greater availability of naloxone will save lives.”
The Health Department strongly encourages individuals at risk for opioid overdose, as well as their friends and family members, to learn more about overdose prevention and obtain naloxone.
New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/health and search for “Prevent Overdose” or call 311 to find a participating pharmacy and more information about overdose prevention. A site locator is also available at nyc.gov/health/sitelocator.
Pharmacists interested in dispensing naloxone under the city’s standing order can visit nyc.gov/health and search for “Pharmacy Naloxone.”