Free Narcan spray now available 5 days a week at the Dougherty Co. Health Dept.

The program is aimed at helping prevent overdoses.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 7:29 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - You can now access free Narcan spray five days a week at the Dougherty County Health Department thanks to a recent partnership with the Southwest Health District.

One squirt of this nasal spray can reverse an opioid overdose. In springtime 2022, there were 60 reported overdoses. So far in 2023, there’s been 50.

Since starting the program back in 2020, the health department has seen an increased demand for Narcan, a medicine that can save lives.

“We average about three a week. Just this year alone, we have given out 150 twin packs of Narcan here in Dougherty County. Like I said, Narcan is available for free at the Dougherty County Health Department and each of the 14 counties,” said Phyllis Rolle, Public Health Analyst.

Health experts want to remind people that if you aren’t able to get Narcan at the Dougherty County Health Department, you can also get it at any of the 14 county health departments within the Southwest Health District.

Phyllis Rolle, a public health analyst, said that over the years, she has been able to see an overall decrease in the number of fatal related overdoses with some being from opioids.

“Last year, we did have 33 overall drug overdoses, and 25 of those were opioid-related. And this year, we are seeing a little less than what we saw last year. So, I think it is helping us this year and it’s a bit effective so yes. I like to think of Narcan as being the drug of a second chance because if they have that Narcan on hand, that does give them a chance to be revived and taken to the hospital to give them the treatment they need to overcome this addiction,” Rolle said.

The Narcan spray is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dougherty County Health Department.

The Dougherty County Health Department has recently changed its policies to address opioid use in the county.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, in 2021, opioid-related overdoses increased. Right now, the Narcan nasal spray is the most effective way to prevent opioid overdose, according to health experts.

“Narcan is a drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose, and it comes in a twin pack of nasal spray. One pack is one dose, and you just put one squirt in each nostril. You turn the person over to a recovery position that’s on their side and then you call 911 for help,” Rolle said.

One of the free services at the health department is disposable bags that allow you to discard any unwanted or unused medications. Once you pour water into the bag, it deactivates the medicine.

This new service works best alongside nasal sprays and is free for people who might be at risk.

Rolle is working with community partners to expand the availability of opioid overdose prevention supplies.

“I partnered with Aspire and the chain center that’s located on Pine Avenue downtown. If for some reason you aren’t able to pick it up here, you can pick it up there,” Rolle said.

It’s important that if you find yourself at risk of overdosing that you contact your local health department that offers the drug for free. Having access to Narcan can save your life.

It’s available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dougherty County Health Department, located at 1710 S. Slappey Blvd, Albany.