Free Narcan available in Central Florida as opioid overdose deaths remain high
The Florida Department of Health has issued thousands of free Narcan kits but is still trying to make more available to the public.
The Florida Department of Health has issued thousands of free Narcan kits but is still trying to make more available to the public as opioid deaths remain high.
Narcan, or naloxone, is a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose.
The latest data show there were over 600 opioid overdose deaths between 2020 and 2021 in Central Florida, according to Project Opioid. Additionally, there were over 1,600 deaths in the region associated with opioids, with the majority of those deaths have occurred in Volusia and Brevard counties, Projected Opioid reported.
The health department is determined to reduce these numbers by offering free Narcan kits, which contain two nasal sprays should someone experience an overdose. The kits are available at local department centers along with instructional videos.
Gissela Suarez, director of nursing at the health department, said the agency is collecting data, but its already seen life-saving results in the last three months.
“We have 124 cases having a reverse reaction meaning that we saved 124 people from dying,” she said.
The department and its partners have distributed over 3,000 kits in the last three months throughout Orange County, Suarez said. The health department in Orange was responsible for about 129 kits, 258 units. Not all of the recipients have been those struggling with opioid addiction, Suarez said. Some are simply interested in taking precautions.
“It does not necessarily mean, you know the stigma, that you are the one who's going to be using it. You are the one stepping in with Narcan. You are the one that potentially could save the life of anybody in your community, in your neighborhood,” she said.
Contact your local Florida Department of Health office to request Narcan.
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