TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy this week announced free distribution of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone at participating pharmacies throughout New Jersey on June 18. The one-day distribution of free naloxone is part of a pilot program approved by the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy.

As part of the governor’s initiative to combat the opioid crisis, New Jerseyans will be able to visit participating pharmacies and anonymously obtain naloxone at no cost and without an individual prescription or an appointment. Naloxone will be available at select locations of chain pharmacies such as Walgreens, Rite Aid, ShopRite, and CVS, as well as at community pharmacies across the state.

“The scourge of opioids continues to devastate families and communities across our state, and we must do everything we can to end the opioid epidemic,”Murphy said. “Through this initiative, people who are battling with addiction will be able to receive access to this critical medication and help them get on a path to recovery.”

Naloxone, which can reverse and overdose by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain, will be distributed one dose per person on a first-come, first-served basis.  People who obtain naloxone during the June 18 distribution day will also be given information regarding addiction treatment and recovery.

“With more than 3,000 overdose deaths in New Jersey last year, the Murphy administration is taking action to empower residents to help prevent overdoses,” New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. “We are making the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone available for free on June 18 to help New Jerseyans have the tools they need to support their friends and loved ones and to give us every opportunity to save lives and connect people with opioid addiction to treatment.”

“Naloxone is a critical component in our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and save lives.  Last year in New Jersey, first responders administered the drug more than 16,000 times, preventing thousands of deaths,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said. “By participating in the Murphy administration’s pilot program to provide naloxone free of charge, New Jersey pharmacies are not only expanding access to this life-saving drug, they’re reinforcing their role as vital allies in the battle to end New Jersey’s opioid crisis.”

“Giving people this live-saving antidote is also 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. “Naloxone use is an opportunity to get individuals with opioid addiction on the path to long-term recovery.”

Click here for a list of participating pharmacies.

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.