Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Provides Life-Saving Naloxone to Reduce Substance Abuse Deaths

This media release was issued at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (DOH-Alachua) announces the availability of free Naloxone (Narcan) nasal spray kits. This life-saving drug could reduce thousands of substance abuse deaths across the state. Naloxone is available to people who use drugs, people with a history of drug use, others at risk of overdose, friends, family members, and others who may witness an overdose. The kits consist of two Naloxone nasal sprays that are administered even without a medical professional present.

“Overdose deaths are tragic and preventable,” said Paul Myers, administrator of the Alachua County Health Department. “These life-saving drug kits have been effective in reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths in Alachua County, and with increased availability, provide additional hope for overdose survival.”

Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, restoring breathing and consciousness within minutes of being administered to a person who has overdosed. Naloxone can be administered by a bystander (a non-medical professional) before emergency medical care is available, but it is not intended to replace professional medical care. Individuals should call 911 immediately when an opioid overdose is suspected before administering naloxone.

Persons requesting a kit from DOH-Alachua must meet the following conditions:

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Individuals at risk of opioid overdose
  • Caregivers who may witness an opioid overdose or others who are likely to experience or witness an opioid overdose.

Naloxone kits can be obtained at the East Gainesville DOH-Alachua office (224 SE 24th Street, Gainesville)

Naloxone kits are free and no registration is required. People using Naloxone receive educational materials, referrals and links to substance abuse intervention.

Increasing access to naloxone is a critical component in fighting the opioid epidemic, especially in rural areas or counties with limited access to health care. Making naloxone available through county health departments will increase support for individuals statewide dealing with substance use disorder and help prevent overdose deaths in Florida.

The Florida Department of Health works with the Florida Department of Children and Families through the Overdose Prevention Program, or iSaveFL, which facilitates the distribution of naloxone kits to families, friends and caregivers of those at risk of overdose with opiates. The iSaveFL website provides information on finding naloxone in your community and resources for treatment, overdose education and prevention.
This effort complements the Florida Department of Health’s HEROS (Helping Emergency Responders Get Support) program, which provides free naloxone to emergency response agencies.
This initiative is part of the state’s response to the overdose crisis. This month, Governor Ron DeSantis launched the Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) program—the first of its kind in the nation—to provide comprehensive and sustainable care to those affected by substance use disorder.
A public health and safety alert was issued by the Florida Department of Health on July 8, 2022 to ensure that Floridians remain vigilant for the signs of an overdose. Anyone can access print and digital educational materials to help Floridians identify overdose symptoms here. The public health and safety alert is here.

Where is help available for substance use disorder?

For questions about potential overdoses and other drug-related exposures, Florida Poison Control Centers are a valuable resource for Florida residents, including emergency personnel. Poison control centers are staffed by healthcare professionals who are specially trained to treat drug overdoses or evaluate patients exposed to drug abuse. Medical toxicologists are available 24/7 for medical consultations. For questions about poisoning or emergencies, call 1-800-222-1222. Visit the website at floridapoisoncontrol.org.
HEROS (Emergency Responders Help Get Support) is a program of the Florida Department of Health that provides free naloxone to emergency response agencies. All Florida first responders can request free naloxone through this program. Since the program began in 2018, FDOH has distributed over 455,000 doses to emergency response agencies in Florida through HEROS. More information about HEROS is available here.
If you or your organization is interested in obtaining or administering Naloxone for the community, please visit I SAVE FL to find available resources through the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The Hope for Healing website is a tool for Florida residents to access mental health and substance abuse help. The Hope for Healing initiative focuses on helping Floridians find resources in difficult times through state and local partnerships, using evidence-based best practices and addressing help-seeking stigma. The site brings together federal, state, local, private, religious and non-profit resources. Learn more here.
Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity uses Care Navigators to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity. Care Navigators can help people identify their unique and immediate barriers to capital, develop long-term goals, and map out a strategic plan, including finding support for people with substance use disorders. The process focuses on community collaboration between the private sector, the faith community, nonprofits, and government organizations to break down traditional community silos to maximize resources and unlock opportunities. Learn more here.

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