New Jersey residents will soon be able to anonymously get the opioid antidote drug naloxone for free at many pharmacies across the Garden State.

The initiative, announced Tuesday by Gov. Phil Murphy during his State of the State address, is part of an effort to combat the ongoing opioid crisis in New Jersey.

Many deaths

Opioid overdose deaths topped 3,000 every year between 2018 and 2021, while preliminary figures show the total dropped by 231 last year.

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According to state Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman, those 14 and over will be able to request and obtain naloxone at participating pharmacies, at any time, without a prescription and without providing their name, or a reason for getting it.

“We are focused on saving lives, and making naloxone as accessible as possible is a critical component of that effort," she said. "Naloxone is safe, easy to use, and fast-acting against overdoses. We want naloxone in every New Jersey medicine cabinet.”

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One two-dose naloxone nasal spray kit will be provided per visit.

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An ongoing effort

Since 2018 the Department of Human Services has distributed about 186,000 two-dose naloxone kits throughout the state, including 54,000 kits last year.

Last July, the Murphy administration launched a Naloxone Distribution Program that allows eligible agencies in Jersey to request direct shipments of naloxone online anytime they need it.

The eligible agencies for the program include first responders, harm reduction agencies, county prosecutor’s offices, libraries and homeless shelters.

DHS has not specified which pharmacies will be participating in the new free, on-demand naloxone program.

Adelman is urging anyone seeking addiction assistance to call 1-844-ReachNJ (732-2465), New Jersey’s 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week addictions helpline.

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