UNION COUNTY — The state Human Services Department will offer the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) for free to residents at pharmacies throughout New Jersey — including three in Union and 13 within Union County — Sept. 24 through 26, officials said.

Residents can visit participating pharmacies and anonymously obtain naloxone with no prescription and no appointment, Gov. Phil Murphy and Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson announced. Administered through a nasal spray, naloxone is used to treat overdose victims in emergency situations.

“The ongoing opioid epidemic continues to devastate communities across our state,” Murphy said. “By expanding access to Naloxone, New Jerseyans will have this lifesaving medication readily available to help those who may be suffering from an overdose.”

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The free naloxone will be available at 322 pharmacies in New Jersey, including several locations of Acme, CVS, Rite Aid, Sav-On, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Walmart, Weis Markets and independent pharmacies, the officials said.

In Union County, where authorities have recorded 81 drug overdose deaths since the beginning of the year, the following pharmacies will be participating, according to a listing on state’s website:

  • CVS, 2287 Morris Ave., Union, 908-964-6560
  • Roxy Pharmacy, 1275 Stuyvesant Avenue, Suite E., Union, 973-242-8001
  • ShopRite Pharmacy of Union, 2401D US Highway 22 West, Union, 908-810-6742
  • Acme Pharmacy, 1060 Raritan Road, Clark, 732-340-0081
  • Shoprite Pharmacy of Clark, 76 Central Ave., Clark 732-381-7600
  • Bells Pharmacy, 17 North Union Ave., Cranford, 908-276-0062
  • Camacho Pharmacy, 509 Elizabeth Ave., Elizabeth, 908-355-1784
  • Shoprite Pharmacy of Elizabeth, 865 West Grand St., Elizabeth, 908-558-9126
  • Walgreens, 600 Newark Ave., Elizabeth, 908-353-7443
  • Acme Pharmacy, 801 Kenilworth Blvd., Kenilworth, 908-259-0720
  • Walgreens, 1147 South Ave., Plainfield, 908-757-7703
  • CVS, 890 Saint George’s Ave., Rahway, 732-396-1990
  • Tiffany Natural Pharmacy, 1115 South Avenue West, Westfield, 908- 233-2200

Click here for the full list of participating pharmacies across New Jersey.

The state Human Services department in June 2019 oversaw a free naloxone distribution at pharmacies that led to residents receiving 32,000 doses of naloxone, officials said.

“This is all about saving lives,” Johnson said. “We’re continuing to find innovative ways to combat this epidemic that has taken far too many lives. We urge everyone to visit a participating pharmacy to get a free pack of this overdose reversal drug.”

The naloxone will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last, officials said.

Naloxone can reverse overdoses from opioids by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. Those who obtain naloxone will also be given information regarding addiction treatment and recovery, officials said

Participating pharmacies have standing orders from the state Health Department for dispensing of naloxone, and the distribution is a Human Services program approved by the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy, officials said.

Human Services has also distributed 53,000 free doses of naloxone to police departments, 11,352 free doses to EMS teams, 1,200 free doses to shelters for those experiencing homelessness and 400 free doses to libraries, the release said.

Those who pick up free naloxone will be given information regarding the state’s addiction treatment helpline, 1-844-ReachNJ, 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.