Southeast Nebraska residents will be able to obtain free opioid overdose reversal drug kits beginning Sunday through a new pilot project.
The naloxone nasal spray kits are being distributed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ behavioral health division, which is teaming up with the Nebraska Pharmacists Association and Region V Systems in southeast Nebraska. The aim is to eventually take the program statewide.
The Iowa Department of Public Health announced a similar initiative in Iowa this week in partnership with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Naloxone is an antidote to opioid overdose. It can’t be abused and only works if opioids are present in a person’s system. Overdose can occur when a person deliberately misuses a prescription medication, uses an illicit opioid such as heroin or takes an opioid contaminated with other more potent opioids, such as fentanyl. It also can occur when opioids are taken with other prescription medications, such as Xanax or Valium, or with illicit drugs or alcohol.
Projects in both states are funded by federal grants.
“By getting this into the hands of those at risk or those who know a friend or family member who is at risk of an opioid overdose, we can work to help reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths in our state and connect those in need with help and treatment resources,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the behavioral health division in the Nebraska DHS.
The kits will be available at three pharmacies:
- Kohll’s/Wagey Drug, 808 N. 27th St., Lincoln, 402-476-3342.
- Hy-Vee, 5010 O St., Lincoln, 402-465-0413.
- Hyrum’s Family Value Pharmacy, 2115 14th St., Auburn, 402-274-5225.
Staff at the pharmacies have been trained to provide information about the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and how to administer the nasal spray.
Iowans can obtain free naloxone by consulting with a pharmacist using a mobile phone platform. A free kit is then mailed to the person anywhere in the state. The statewide Tele-Naloxone Project is intended to make sure cost and access don’t stop people from getting the reversal drug, also known as Narcan.
For more information and to order naloxone, Iowans can go to naloxoneiowa.org.
Residents of both states also can purchase naloxone at pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor.