Free naloxone training and kits were given out at the Maysville Lions Club Thursday.
“It’s a partnership between the Kentucky Pharmacists Association and the Kentucky Department of Public Health,” said Jody Jaggers, director of Pharmacy Emergency Preparedness at the KPhA.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression. Narcan is the brand name of the drug.
Jaggers said the group has been going across Kentucky at the request of counties and giving out naloxone training, as well as free doses.
The group brings the state mobile pharmacy with them to distribute Narcan and offer training. Kentucky is one of only two states in the nation with such a pharmacy.
“We go in and have volunteer pharmacists help with the training and people can come in, get the training and go home with a brochure that covers the same education we give them,” Jaggers said. “They also get a Narcan kit, which has two doses of nalaxone.”
Pharmacists Cheyenne Baver and Peggy Gilligan administered training, which consisted of how to recognize signs of an overdose, how to administer Narcan and how to perform rescue breathing.
“We’ve certainly got a huge public health crisis here in Kentucky with the overdose situation,” Jaggers said.
Narcan is a spray injected nasally to help victims of an overdose. To administer the drug, an individual would peel it out of its packaging, place the nozzle fully into the victim’s nose and press a button to administer the spray.
According to pharmacists, the effects should take place within 30 seconds to a few minutes after administering the drug. If breathing is not seen after two to three minutes, another dose of Narcan may be required. If breathing returns to the victim, they are to be put on their side in the recovery position to help facilitate breathing.
According to Jagger, Narcan and naloxone training is useful for everyone.
“If you don’t know someone in your life who has been affected by opiates, you probably do and don’t even realize it.” Jaggers said. “If you don’t think you’ll ever use it or need it, you can always give it to a police officer, a firefighter or a friend. You can give it to anyone in your life who may need it.”
Jagger said the program is focusing on reaching out to counties across Kentucky to make sure they get as many doses out there as possible. He said they have given out around 1,400 free doses across the commonwealth.
Jagger recommended that people look in their communities for recovery groups and pharmacies that carry Narcan and may offer training and/or doses.
“Right now pharmacies are able to distribute naloxone,” Jaggers said. “Not every county has a pharmacy that’s doing it, but there are more counties that do than don’t. Mason County has at least one pharmacy that I know of that offers naloxone.”
According to Gilligan, Kroger Pharmacy in Maysville offers Narcan without a prescription.
"It’s about $150 for Narcan (without insurance),” Jaggers said. “There are cheaper options, but it will typically be around $100.”
The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, in conjunction with the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy, the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy and the Advancing Pharmacy Practice in Kentucky Coalition has an online registry where individuals can search for locations across the state that carry naloxone. The registry can be found at kystopoverdoses.ky.gov.