Welcome to the Naloxone Accessibility Challenge at SAFE Project, where our daily mission revolves around saving lives. In line with this commitment, we are dedicated to ensuring that individuals affected by opioid use disorder have easy access to naloxone.
Naloxone is a life-saving medicine that reverses opioid overdoses by forcing opioids off brain receptors, restoring normal breathing. Non-toxic and non-addictive, naloxone is a crucial tool against opioids like oxycodone, heroin, morphine, or fentanyl, temporarily reversing their effects.
In August 2022, SAFE Project launched the Naloxone Awareness Project, or “the pharmacy challenge,” a nationwide volunteer campaign. Volunteers collected data on naloxone availability at local pharmacies, contributing to comprehensive nationwide data submitted to the FDA Advisory Panel in February 2023. This data played a key role in making Narcan available over the counter, a development reported by major retailers such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart.
Our ongoing goal is to update the project, focusing on Naloxone accessibility which is now available over the counter. In all 50 states, individuals can obtain naloxone without a prescription, but obstacles persist. SAFE Project aims to identify and overcome barriers, including stocking, purchase ability, and stigma.
What Are We Doing?
Spreading Awareness: The Naloxone Accessibility Challenge educates volunteers about naloxone and encourages them to share this knowledge through social media. Opioid Reversal Training equips volunteers to use naloxone in overdose situations, fostering better community awareness.
Naloxone Accessibility: Our goal is to identify community locations providing naloxone, including harm reduction agencies, pharmacies, and those offering OTC Narcan. The pharmacy visit program trains volunteers to report on their experiences obtaining naloxone, addressing distribution challenges and understanding individual complications.
- Visit the community center, local harm reduction agency, retail organization, grocery store, or pharmacy of your choice.
- Ask if they carry naloxone, specifically OTC (over the counter) Narcan. If you do not see Narcan OTC or are visiting a health center/harm reduction agency, ask “Do you carry narcan/Naloxone?” Take note of their response and any questions they may ask you.
- Thank them and take a picture if naloxone was available OTC and post to SAFE Project’s social media page using #naloxonesaves and email it to email@example.com
- Complete the online survey to help us better understand your experience.
Why Is This Important?
The Naloxone Accessibility Project eliminates barriers to ensure easy access for anyone in need. By mobilizing a volunteer network to educate and request naloxone, we aim to simplify the process of saving lives for those witnessing a crisis. Join us in making naloxone accessible to all who may need it, free from obstacles.
- Take our Opioid Reversal Training Online Opioid Overdose Response Training (thinkific.com)
- Spread Naloxone Awareness using the hashtag #NaloxoneSavesLives and #HarmReduction on all your social media platforms. Encourage your friends to do the same and to become a SAFE Project volunteer.
No! This volunteer opportunity is free and we are not asking you to purchase anything. Spreading the word is critical and this is a free and easy way to help build awareness about the benefits and use of naloxone.
If you are interested in a personal training session, it will take about 30 minutes… and then whatever time it takes for your visits with pharmacies or friends!
After your visit, we would like to have you fill out a short survey about the visit so that we can track awareness as well as the progress of the program.
Phase 1 Challenge Results
We were excited to find that 89% of pharmacies carried some form of naloxone. However, this did not mean that it was available at the time of our volunteers’ visits, nor were our volunteers necessarily even offered the option to purchase it upon inquiring. The stigma around naloxone is still evident, and combined with the wildly varying costs, there is clearly still more work to be done.
Roughly 60-70% of pharmacy representatives were both (1) familiar with dispensing naloxone based on the Standing Order (and/or 3rd Party Access) in each state, and (2) were actually trained on dispensing naloxone. This still leaves a wide margin of pharmacists — those directly on the front line of distributing naloxone — that had no familiarity or training whatsoever.
The Naloxone Awareness Project's main mission — the Pharmacy Challenge — pulled volunteers from nearly 20 different states visiting over 170 unique pharmacies. It is imperative, however, that we collect data from the entire country. You can help us reach 200 visits and beyond!