Phoenix Public Library branches offer free Narcan to combat opioid crisis

Aug 15, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 7:27 am

NARCAN kit...

Kits with the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication, Naloxone, (also known as NARCAN), is now available for free at any Phoenix public library anonymously without providing an I.D. (Colton Krolak/KTAR News)

(Colton Krolak/KTAR News)

PHOENIX — Lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, also known as Narcan, is now available for free at any Phoenix Public Library branch.

Two doses of Narcan are available in kits that include a pair of gloves and an informational pamphlet that describes overdose signs and symptoms and has instructions on how to administer the medication.

The kits can be requested anonymously, without presenting identification, at any of the city’s 17 libraries.

“Today, we’re here in support of the continued investment that the city is making to fight the opioid epidemic,” Mayor Kate Gallego said during a press conference Monday at Burton Barr Central Library.

“We have lost too many of our residents to this. In the last year, 991 members of our Phoenix community lost their life in an overdose.”

Gallego spoke before before a live demonstration by the Phoenix Fire Department on how to use the kits.

The mayor said Valley firefighters responded to more than 3,800 calls related to opioid overdoses last year and this new program will help give emergency personnel more time to arrive.

“By placing naloxone in the hands of city employees and making it more accessible to our residents, we’re creating a network of potential first responders who can make a significant impact in emergency situations,” Gallego said.

Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari also spoke at the event and added that many of those deaths could have been prevented if there was someone nearby carrying Narcan who knew how to use it.

“That’s why it’s so important to understand and know the signs of an overdose,” Ansari said.

“That could be struggling to breathe, blue or pale skin color, small pupils, slow heartbeat, and be prepared to use Narcan if someone is in need.”

Ansari emphasized that the more Phoenicians who carry Narcan, the fewer will die.

What are the signs of opioid overdose?

An opioid overdose is life-threatening and requires immediate emergency attention, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

SAMHSA says to call 911 if a person is exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Extremely pale and/or clammy face.
  • Body goes limp.
  • Fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color.
  • Vomiting or making gurgling noises.
  • Cannot be awakened or unable to speak.
  • Breathing or heartbeat slows or stops.

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Phoenix Public Library branches offer free Narcan to combat opioid crisis