Where to buy Narcan: Is the life-saving measure actually accessible?

Narcan has been available over the counter for almost six months

ROANOKE, Va. – For many facing addiction, Naloxone, or Narcan, can be a second chance at life.

“Recovery is possible - I am a person that is in long-term recovery, so I feel very strongly and I know that to be true, but there is only hope as long as there is breath,” Recovery Community Engagement Leader Bailey Helgeson said.

10 News sat down with Bailey Helgeson — a Recovery Community Engagement leader with Roanoke Valley Collective Response who said everyone should carry Naloxone.

“We don’t want these accidents to happen to anyone. For a child or someone to get into a medication that you have sitting in your cabinet from a surgery you had five years ago,” Helgeson said.

An over-the-counter nasal spray version of Narcan has been available in pharmacies for almost six months — but we wanted to see how accessible it really is for people wanting to carry it.

First, we went to Target and found it pretty easily.

It’s in a locked box that an employee needs to open at checkout, but there was a clear sign showing where it was.

Next, we headed to Walmart.

It took a few minutes to find it since there was no signage pointing it out, but we eventually found it, unlocked on a shelf.

Last, we went to CVS and Walgreens.

We looked for a while and eventually asked an employee.

At both of these places, you need to ask behind the pharmacy counter — something Hegleson tells us is a deterrent.

“Having to ask for it, or not understanding exactly where it is is creating more barriers because there’s still a lot of stigma around addiction,” she said.

If you have trouble finding it in-store, you can buy it online, and at Walgreens, you can even order a cheaper, generic version.

But Helgeson tells us, that the lower the cost, the better.

“$50 is not necessarily accessible to every person in the community — and that’s a really important part about naloxone is that we want everyone to have it. It’s to be used in case of an emergency,” she said.

There are many places to get Narcan for free — including your local health department or the Bradley Free Clinic.

More information on Narcan and REVIVE! training can be found here.

You can find a list of upcoming trainings in the area here.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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