MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — The overdose-reversing drug Narcan was approved for over-the-counter sales last month but more than two dozen towns in Connecticut will not be able to sell it.
State data shows 28 towns currently do not have stores with permits to sell over-the-counter medications. According to data reported by the Department of Consumer Protection, 45 towns do not have a pharmacy with a pharmacist that can prescribe the drug.
In Middletown, volunteers with the city’s Harm Reduction Initiative see the great need for Narcan. Jackie Pawlak, the group’s co-director, said when the buses were free, people from surrounding rural areas would come to get Narcan. Now those people must make an appointment so a volunteer can drive out to them to provide them the drug.
“We come from a place of non-judgment, truly meeting people where they are at, physically and mentally,” she said.
Pawlak said the group handed out more than 1,000 kits last year.
“It’s good to see people coming down on Saturdays and Mondays to get Narcan. People who aren’t using come and get Narcan, just to have it because they want to look out for their community members,” she said.
Jess Morris is a mobile outreach worker with Perception Programs, a non-profit behavioral health agency. She travels all over eastern Connecticut distributing Narcan. In the past year, she’s given out 800 kits. 86 people reported back, saying they used Narcan to reverse an overdose.
Morris said she believes everyone should have direct access to Narcan.
“You can’t recover if you’re dead. You don’t get another chance when you’re dead,” she said.
This video aired in our 10 p.m. newscast on April 18, 2023.