Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Lawmakers: State Not Doing Enough To Get Opioid Antidote Naloxone To Those Who Need It

May 22, 2018 - 1:24 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- State lawmakers on Tuesday said New York state needs to do a better job of getting the opioid-reversing drug naloxone, or Narcan, into the hands of those who need it.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, officials with the state Department of Health held a hearing on the subject Tuesday morning.

Lawmakers complained of major gaps in the availability of naloxone. Pharmacies often do not carry it, and the ones that do sometimes deny access to people who are trying to get it for friends or loved ones, lawmakers said.

State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who represents the Upper West Side, told a Health Department panel that she recently heard from a health clinic that they had no naloxone on hand and were waiting on a shipment from the state.

“And I’m flabbergasted about that,” Rosenthal.

State Health Department Deputy Director Valerie White said, “You know, we agree – naloxone should be available, so, you know, we’ll do everything we can to expedite making that happen.”

White explained that naloxone has a short shelf life of a year and a half, and pharmacies will only carry it where there is high demand.

But lawmakers said the Health Department’s current voluntary naloxone program does not go far enough.