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Human Services Commissioner Details Plan to Enable Pharmacies to Provide Individuals with Lifesaving Naloxone for Free and Anonymously

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By From New Jersey Department of Human Services

TRENTON – After it was announced by Governor Phil Murphy during today’s (Jan. 10) State of the State address, Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman detailed how individuals will soon be able to anonymously obtain the opioid overdose antidote naloxone for free at participating pharmacies at any time.

The initiative is part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis and save lives by getting life-saving naloxone into as many hands as possible.

Under the initiative, those age 14 and over will be able to request and obtain naloxone at participating pharmacies for free without having to provide a name or reason.

No prescription will be needed.

One two-dose naloxone nasal spray kit will be provided per visit.

Human Services has held special pharmacy naloxone giveaways in recent years, but this program will permit consumers to obtain free naloxone any day of the year.

“As we enter 2023, we are bringing new resources to this battle to save lives,” Governor Murphy said. “Turning back this challenge requires constant vigilance from all of us, but this nation-leading policy will ensure that a crucial and lifesaving tool is put in the hands of more people, for free and anonymously, so we can save more precious lives and allow individuals struggling with addiction to seek treatment.”

“We are focused on saving lives, and making naloxone as accessible as possible is a critical component of that effort,” Commissioner Adelman said. “New Jerseyans will be able to obtain this life-saving antidote for free and without stigma, making it more accessible than ever before. Naloxone is safe, easy to use, and fast-acting against overdoses. We want naloxone in every New Jersey medicine cabinet because it saves lives.”

The program, which will officially launch soon, will be funded with federal grant money.

“I want to thank New Jersey pharmacies for their continued partnership in helping distribute naloxone to as many people as possible,” Commissioner Adelman said. “Allowing individuals to obtain naloxone anonymously will bolster our work to reduce stigma and make it easier for residents to have continuous access to naloxone. This will save lives.”

The plan to get naloxone into individual hands through pharmacies comes after the Murphy Administration in July launched a Naloxone Distribution Program that allows eligible agencies the opportunity to request direct shipments of naloxone online anytime they need it. Among others, the eligible agencies for that program include first responder agencies, harm reduction agencies, county prosecutor’s offices, libraries and shelters.

Since 2018, Human Services has distributed about 186,000 two-dose naloxone kits throughout the state, including 54,000 kits in 2022.

Commissioner Adelman also noted that giving people this live-saving antidote is an opportunity to get people on the path to recovery by connecting them to treatment.

“Naloxone is not just an opportunity to save lives – it’s an opportunity to give more people struggling with addiction the chance to obtain the treatment they need,” Commissioner Adelman said. “That’s a top priority of our ongoing work to reverse the tide of this epidemic.”

The Commissioner also urged anyone seeking addiction assistance to call 1-844-ReachNJ (732-2465), a 24-hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week addictions help line, where people facing addiction or their friends and family can get immediate assistance and support from live, New Jersey-based, trained addiction counselors. ReachNJ assists callers regardless of their insurance status.

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