Phoenix sees success in having free naloxone kits at libraries

The program launched on Aug. 14 and at that time, the city distributed around 1,600 kits. At one point, every library was already cleared out.
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 8:54 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The city of Phoenix says they are seeing a big success with their new program, offering naloxone kits for free at city libraries. The program launched on Aug. 14 and at that time, the city distributed around 1,600 kits. At one point, every library was already cleared out.

The city says what they anticipated the demand would be for the month was actually the demand for about a week. They say they’re looking into what their long-term supply needs need to be and have already began restocking some locations. “Did we expect it to move as quickly as we did? Probably not. We definitely exceeded what our projections might have been,” Nicole Witt, the public health advisor with the city of Phoenix, said.

Last week, the city rolled out its new program to decrease fentanyl and opioid overdoes. They distributed naloxone kits with two doses of Narcan nasal spray across the 17 libraries. “It is an issue finding its way into every community and every neighborhood,” Witt said.

The city found the kits ran out in just one week. Witt says they knew there would be a demand but she was surprised it went this fast. Her office is working with the health department to discuss what supply needs to look like moving forward. “It’s definitely a big success, and we will continue to use our experience over the next few weeks to determine what this program looks like and what we can anticipate for the demand going forward,” Witt said.

Last year, there were close to 1,000 overdose deaths in Phoenix and firefighters went on more than 3,800 overdose calls. Witt says these kits are important to have, whether you think you will use them or not. “We know there are a lot of people coming through the doors that are picking them up from a precautionary standpoint, and we think that is really good,” she said.

If you want to pick up a kit, you do not have to show an ID and it is free. As the city works to restock, they recommend calling your nearby library before heading there to make sure they have a kit. Witt also says there have been a lot of agencies, like shelters or health care providers, reaching out to the city for kits. She says they can set up their own account through the Arizona Department of Health Services and get naloxone sent to them. There is more information on that here.

She added people can also contact Terros Health, Sonoran Prevention Works, Valle Del Sol and other federally qualified health centers to ask if they carry naloxone.

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