Narcan kits will soon be free for the community

Logo of Lexington-Fayette Health Department, provided by Communications Officer Kevin Hall. 

Logo of Lexington-Fayette Health Department, provided by Communications Officer Kevin Hall. 

Local health agencies announced Wednesday that Naloxone kits will soon be available for free to the community.

The free kits, which help reverse opioid overdoses, will be available through a partnership between the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, which is part of the UK College of Public Health.

“This is truly life-saving news,” Kevin Hall, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department Communications Officer, said. “Narcan reverses opioid overdoses, giving family and friends the opportunity to keep someone alive.” 

Narcan is the brand name for naloxone, which blocks opiate receptors in the brain, according to a press release. It works in one to three minutes, and lasts 30 to 90 minutes. While it can cause withdrawal symptoms, there is no risk of abuse or addiction.

The Narcan kits will be distributed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays, in the Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room at the health department’s main location, at 650 Newtown Pike.

“The Lexington Fayette-County Health Department and the University of Kentucky College of Public Health have a shared goal in the fight against drug overdose: to save lives in our community,” Dr. Svetla Slavova, associate biostatistics professor at UK, said. 

She is also the principal investigator for the grant that funded the purchasing of 1,236 Narcan kits. The grant was awarded by the Berea of Justice Assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“This partnership between government agencies, the university, and KIPRC, bona fide agent of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, is one way we hope to turn the tide of overdose fatalities in Kentucky,” Slavova said in a press release.

The kits are part of the health department’s needle-exchange program, which opened Sept. 5, 2015. The needle-exchange has provided clean needles to 1,849 people, according to the press release.

“Our clients at the needle-exchange are some of the people at the highest risk for potential overdoses,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said in the press release.