WAYNE, NJ = The NJ Human Services Department is making the opioid overdose reversal drug Naloxone available for free September 24th to 26th at participating pharmacies throughout New Jersey. Wayne Pharmacy and Surgical Supplies on Hamburg Turnpike will be participating this year.

The distribution is part of the Murphy Administration’s continued effort to combat the opioid crisis. New Jerseyans will be able to visit participating pharmacies and anonymously obtain Naloxone for free without a prescription or an appointment. Each Naloxone pack contains two doses.

Naloxone can reverse overdoses from opioids by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain.

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“You don’t need a prescription for this,” said Svet Milic, one of the owners of Wayne Pharmacy and Surgical Supplies. “Patients just need to come down and ask.”

Milic was asked why he was participating in the program. “I believe this can prevent opioid deaths,” he said. “We are a part of an organization called the Garden State Pharmacy Organization, which is a promoter of independently owned pharmacies throughout the state. We, as a group, have taken an active role in providing Naloxone to those that may need it or who has a friend or family member who needs it.”

Last year, Milic also participated in the program and gave out 120 doses out of his pharmacy in Colonia. This year he will have even more doses and will be giving them out in Wayne.

“I am glad that the stigma from addiction has been removed,” said Robbin Gulino, the Coordinator for the Wayne Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse. “People are beginning to feel comfortable enough to ask for the help that they need.”

Gulino was asked about the Naloxone give-away. “I like that there is a tool that can help save lives,” she said. “But, I would also like the people who are handing out the Naloxone to also provide resources so that people can find a way to move forward, and out from under their addiction.”

To that end, Milic has agreed to hand out information from the Wayne Alliance, which includes a list of local resources that will help anyone struggling with the disease of addiction.

“Wayne has a bevy of resources, filled with the tools that addicts need to address their addiction,” said Gulino.

Naloxone is to help prevent an opioid death, the packet of information is to help someone get the support they need to battle their addiction. This couldn't come at a better time. The COVID-19 shutdown has exacerbated the addiction problem. New Jersey could be on track to end 2020 with a record number of fatalities related to alcohol, opioids and other drugs. Nearly 1,600 residents lost their lives to overdose between January and the end of June.