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Racine expands Narcan access with new mail delivery program

Racine expands Narcan access with new mail delivery program

May 13, 2024 10:17 AM CDT
By: Stuart J. Wattles

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RACINE, Wis (Civic Media) – Officials in Racine are doing everything they can to get Narcan to people in need. That now includes using the U.S.P.S. For the past few months, Racine Public Health staffers have been keeping harm-reduction kits for drug users stocked in a vending machine at the transit center, and those kits have also been available at the Health Departments City Hall offices.  Now, through a effort called the ‘Mail Me Narcan‘ program, those kits will be sent through the Postal Service. A statement says it’s meant to expand access to the opioid overdose reversal drug as part of efforts to address the region’s opioid crisis.

The Mail Me Narcan initiative allows Racine County residents to receive the lifesaving Narcan nasal spray through the mail for free. Individuals can request a Narcan Hope Kit containing two doses of Narcan, fentanyl test strips, a CPR mask and instructions.

“Increasing access to Narcan is critical given the alarming rise in opioid overdoses we’ve seen,” said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, Public Health Administrator. “Mail Me Narcan removes barriers for those unable or unwilling to obtain Narcan in person.”

The program builds on Racine’s decade-old Harm Reduction Program, which has been utilized over 7,700 times since launching in 2014. Last year, Racine County saw a record 175 suspected opioid overdoses, a 103% increase from 2022. Opioids were involved in 80% of all toxicity deaths.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, can reverse an opioid overdose by blocking the effects of opioids like fentanyl. It is safe and has no effects for those without opioids in their system.

Opioid Crisis Intensifying

The opioid crisis has intensified in Racine in recent years, with illicit fentanyl causing 97% of opioid overdose deaths in 2023, up from 80% in 2020. Over 300 Racine County residents have died from opioid overdoses since 2014.

People can visit a city website to request a free Narcan Hope Kit, limited to one per person per month. Narcan is also available at the Public Health Department and through a vending machine at the transit center.

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