Opioid overdose rescue kits that contain the lifesaving drug Narcan are now available for free at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

Members of the public can pick up the kits at the Medical Arts Pharmacy inside the hospital. The kits are kept behind the counter, but Pharmacy Director Andre Neptune said anyone can request one. You don’t need a prescription and no questions will be asked. 

Narcan comes in a nasal spray which is simple to use and can save a life when someone is experiencing an overdose. Neptune said he recommends the kits for anyone who knows someone who is taking opioids, whether they are addicted to drugs or not.

“It’s much like having a bee sting kit,” said Neptune. “If you have someone who is allergic to wasp stings you want to have an EpiPen available as a rescue. In my mind it’s as common sense as that.”

Narcan comes in a nasal spray which is easy to use when someone is experiencing an opioid overdose

According to the State Department of Health and Human Services, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses is declining — going from a high of 100 in 2017 down to 65 in 2018.

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, said the state is making real progress in combating opioids.

“It’s been a dramatic difference in the ability to care for patients and realize how much better that epidemic has gotten,” Zink said.

Zink said a number of factors are making a difference.

“It really takes all of us to address this epidemic and we are seeing that by providers writing less," she said. "We are seeing it by patients asking really good questions of their physicians. We are seeing it by better treatment. We are seeing it by Narcan giving people a second chance.”

The kits are available Monday through Friday from  8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Statewide, free Narcan kits are available at a number of public health centers.

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