DENVER (CBS4) – Denver residents can get free Naloxone and fentanyl testing strips from the Department of Public Health and Environment shipped to their homes. Orders have been backlogged due to an increase of demand.
The city has since restocked, and medicine is shipping out as the fentanyl crisis grows in Colorado.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a lifesaving medication that works to reverse drug overdoses caused by opiates. Thousands of Coloradans die each year from opioid overdoses.
The city prioritizes harm reduction strategies to prevent these deaths. Thousands of residents recently learned they can help prevent them, too.
Nathan Sarzone-McDowell lives in downtown Denver. They’ve become accustomed to the constant sound of emergency vehicles. Now, the medicine to help someone overdosing is at arm’s reach.
“I don’t want my lack of preparation to mean that someone fails to see another day,” said Sarzone-McDowell. ”When you’re waiting on emergency response, there’s nothing you can do. With this drug, there’s something we can do.”
Sarzone-McDowell has waited weeks for Narcan to arrive. They’ve never used it to revive someone, and they hope they never have to.
CBS4 spoke to a Denver pharmacy about their Narcan availability. The pharmacy told CBS4’s Tori Mason it received a shipment Thursday but were out of stock Friday afternoon.
Sydney Melson, Association Manager at the Colorado Providers Association, says it costs around $100 to get Narcan from a pharmacy.
“It’s encouraging to me that we’re providing naloxone, but I think that there’s always room for improvement when it comes to providing prevention resources,” said Melson.
Melson says there are many reasons people use opiates. Some are experimenting, some are in pain, but all are worthy of life.
“A lot of people tend to treat those who use drugs and who may be at risk for a fentanyl overdose as criminals,” said Melson. “Whether they’re a first-time user, or somebody who repeatedly uses, they’re all deserving of compassion.”
Melson says this free solution is important, but says it is just a band aid for the state’s deadly problem.