Southeast Nebraska residents can obtain the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, also called Narcan, for free beginning Monday as part of a pilot projects expected to eventually go statewide. Iowa has launched a similar program through a mobile telephone platform. with 20191214_new_naloxone

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

Residents of both states also can purchase naloxone at pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor.

Get the latest health headlines and inspiring stories straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Julie Anderson is a medical reporter for The World-Herald. She covers health care and health care trends and developments, including hospitals, research and treatments. Follow her on Twitter @JulieAnderson41. Phone: 402-444-1066.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.