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Health Care District’s Community Health Centers Exceed 10,000 Free Grab-and-Go Narcan Distributions to Save Lives from an Overdose

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County marks a major milestone in its ongoing battle against opioid overdoses by distributing more than 10,000 packages of overdose-reversing Narcan nasal spray since July 2022. 

"Narcan saves lives and we provide it for free," said Belma Andric, MD, MPH, SVP and Chief Medical Officer at the Health Care District. "Through the Florida Department of Children and Families iSaveFL program, Narcan is provided at no cost without a prescription to our adult patients, removing barriers for those in need. While there was a slight decrease in reported drug overdose deaths in Palm Beach County, with 527 cases in 2023 compared to 554 in 2022, even one life lost is too many.  With this grab-and-go approach, we hope to normalize Narcan use for individuals struggling with opioid use disorders, similar to how people carry and use EpiPens for severe allergies."

Narcan Grab-n-go Display

Narcan nasal spray is instrumental in reversing opioid overdoses from prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl. It’s safe, easy to administer, and free from side effects. Initially introduced at the Health Care District’s Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic in Mangonia Park, Narcan has been readily available for adult patients at all ten brick-and-mortar community health centers, pharmacies, and mobile clinics during regular business hours. One of our community health center patients reports using the Narcan he obtained from the Health Care District’s grab-and-go program to save a man's life.

“A gentleman at the halfway house where I was staying was on the couch sweating, his eyes were rolled back in his head, and I could tell he was overdosing,” said William Liotard. “I gave him the Narcan as I was calling 911. The first time, nothing happened; the second time, he started coming out of it. Soon, the paramedics arrived, and he told me that if I hadn’t given him the Narcan, there’s a good possibility that he wouldn’t have made it. That stuff is a miracle drug, it really is.” 

Each Narcan box contains two doses, as multiple administrations may be necessary for effectiveness. First responders carry Narcan, and its use should be accompanied by a call to 911. Signs of overdose include unresponsiveness, blue or gray skin and lips, choking or gurgling sounds, and slow, shallow or no breathing. Narcan’s effects last 30 to 90 minutes, after which individuals may be at risk of re-overdosing. 

“By ensuring continued access to Narcan, we're fighting the opioid epidemic by arming our community with a crucial tool to prevent overdose deaths and save lives," said Lou Bassi, PharmD, CPh, Director of Pharmacy Services at the Health Care District’s community health centers. 

"The Health Care District is dedicated to addressing the opioid epidemic and substance use disorders through evidence-based medicine," said Darcy J. Davis, Chief Executive of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. "Providing our adult patients with free Narcan is a valuable tool in our efforts to prevent overdose deaths in our community."

About the Health Care District  
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County is a special taxpayer-funded district that has served as a healthcare safety net for 36 years to fill in gaps in access to healthcare services. This unique healthcare system covers the entire county and provides diverse services such as 13 community health centers (Federally Qualified Health Centers) which serve everyone regardless of ability to pay; school health clinicians staffed in nearly 170 public schools; two Trauma Hawk aeromedical helicopters; a rural, public teaching hospital, Lakeside Medical Center; a skilled nursing facility; a ground ambulance program for Health Care District patients needing a higher level of care; a specialty benefits program for eligible, uninsured residents; and quality performance oversight of the county’s lifesaving trauma system.

About the Community Health Centers
The Health Care District’s 10 Federally Qualified Health Centers across the county serve adults and children with or without insurance regardless of ability to pay. The Health Care District also operates three mobile clinics that provide medical services for the homeless and the underserved. In 2023, the health centers served 41,000 unique adult and pediatric patients who received high-quality, comprehensive health services. This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number H80CS25684 for Health Center Cluster in the award amount of $7,278,563. Of the total project, 86.4% is financed with nongovernmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. The C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics were granted Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) deeming status effective January 1, 2024.