TRENTON, NJ — Governor Murphy and Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson recently announced the state will offer the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (commonly called Narcan) for free to residents at participating pharmacies throughout New Jersey, September 24 to 26.

As part of the Murphy administration’s continued effort to combat the opioid crisis, New Jerseyans can visit participating pharmacies and anonymously obtain naloxone for free with no prescription and no appointment. Each naloxone pack contains two doses.

The free naloxone will be available at more than 300 pharmacies, including several locations of Acme, CVS, Rite Aid, Sav-On, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Walmart, Weis Markets and independent pharmacies. Walgreens at 1147 South Avenue in Plainfield is a participating pharmacy.

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To see the full list, visit nj.gov/humanservices/stopoverdoses.

This will be the Murphy administration’s second distribution of free naloxone to residents. Human Services in June 2019 oversaw a free distribution that led to residents receiving 32,000 doses of naloxone.

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

“This is all about saving lives,” Commissioner 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 because, quite frankly, you never know when you’re going to need it to save a life.”

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

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

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

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

“Last year’s turnout showed there is a strong demand for naloxone.  New Jerseyans stood up and said they want to help and be ready to have the opportunity to save someone’s life,” Commissioner Johnson said. “We want to build on last year’s event and get naloxone into as many hands as possible. We want to save lives.”

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.

“Giving people this live-saving antidote is an opportunity to get people on the path to recovery,” said New Jersey Department of Human Services Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who manages Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

“Treatment works and recovery is possible,” Commissioner Johnson said.