CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — Narcan is now on store shelves.
On August 31, Kinney Drugs became one of the first pharmacies in the country to offer Narcan nasal spray. This was the first time the opioid overdose reversal drug was sold over the counter.
“Anyone can purchase Narcan nasal spray,” Kinney Drugs Pharmacist Natalie Powers said. “There’s no age limit, there’s no prescription required and there’s no ID required.”
Because Narcan can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, it’s considered a lifesaving tool. Especially in communities plagued by the ongoing opioid epidemic, like Jefferson County, New York.
So far in 2023, according to Kelly Wright, the director of the Anchor Recovery Center of Northern New York, the county has seen 12 overdose deaths.
Nine of these have been opioid or fentanyl-related.
“That’s not slowing down,” Wright warned. “We’re not seeing a decrease. So this is very important because you never know.”
Jefferson County also had the first sale of over-the-counter Narcan in the U.S. Manufacturers confirmed this was at the Kinney Drugs location in Clayton.
“The opioid crisis is honestly one of the largest public health issues of our time,” Powers, who has been a pharmacist in the North Country her entire career. “Narcan nasal spray saves lives and we want to support the accessibility of Narcan for the health of our customers and our communities.”
Advocates said that the accessibility will help save lives in rural Northern New York areas.
“Anybody that has driven from St. Lawrence County to Jefferson County, even Clayton to [Watertown}, there’s not many stores in between,” Wright explained. “So if you have that accessibility to go to a store or pick it up right there.”
And now that it’s available to all, Wright urged everyone to carry it.
“Maybe grandma forgot and took her pills two or three times, maybe a child was crawling on the floor and found something, maybe your dog found a pill and was eating it,” she said. “It’s never going to hurt you to carry Narcan because you do not know when you’re going to need it.”
The spray is supplied in packs of two, 4-milligram doses (8 mg total). The price is $44.99 at all retailers.