Ky. recovery centers detail impact of Narcan reaching store shelves

Ky. recovery centers detail impact of Narcan reaching store shelves
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 9:49 PM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - An analysis by Stateline found that accidental overdoses are now the leading cause of death for young people (under the age of 40) in 37 states - including Kentucky.

“We see and hear of a lot of young people dying, completely accidentally,” said Johnathan Gay with Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) centers. “Having no sense whatsoever that they’re taking fentanyl. They’re buying illicit pills or they’re being handed illicit pills, and they’re dying.”

Gay serves as deputy legal counsel for ARC, and says they see any increased access to Narcan as a good thing.

“This has the opportunity to reverse and to save those lives for people who have overdosed,” Gay said.

The FDA’s approval in the spring allows the life-saving drug to be bought without any type of prescription. Now, it’s starting to show up on store shelves at retailers like Walmart and Walgreens - and it’s available online too.

But with a retail price of $44.99 suggested, Kevin Crabtree says this over-the-counter option won’t be for everyone.

“I think the cost could definitely be a barrier,” said Crabtree.

Crabtree is a program coordinator for the Lexington non-profit, Voices of Hope, which offers an affordable alternative.

“Here at Voices of Hope, we provide overdose training education and we provide Narcan at no cost,” Crabtree said.

But even if it comes at a cost, he says the benefit of having it out on store shelves is immeasurable.

“You can’t get someone into treatment if you don’t save their lives,” said Gay. “We want to get more people into treatment, we want to help more people, and that starts with saving a life.”