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Free Narcan available in Central Florida as opioid overdose deaths remain high

Narcan Nasal Spray Kit
Matthew Rakola
Narcan is available for free at the Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health has issued thousands of free Narcan kits but is still trying to make more available to the public as opioid deaths remain high.

Narcan, or Naloxone, is a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

The latest data show there were over 600 opioid overdose deaths between 2020 and 2021 in Central Florida, according to Project Opioid. Additionally, there were over 1,600 deaths in the region associated with opioids, with the majority of those deaths have occurred in Volusia and Brevard counties, Projected Opioid reported.

The FDOH is determined to reduce these numbers by offering free Narcan kits, which contain two nasal sprays should someone experience an overdose. The kits are available at local FDOH centers along with instructional videos.

Gissela Suarez, director of nursing at the FDOH, said the department is collecting data but its already seen life-saving results in the last three months.

“We have 124 cases having a reverse reaction meaning that we saved 124 people from dying,” she said.

The FDOH and its partners have distributed over 3,000 kits in the last three months throughout Orange County, Suarez said. The FDOH in Orange was responsible for about 129 kits, 258 units. Not all of the recipients have been those struggling with opioid addiction, Suarez said. Some are simply interested in taking precautions.

“It does not necessarily mean, you know the stigma, that you are the one who's going to be using it. You are the one stepping in with Narcan. You are the one that potentially could say the life of anybody in your community in your neighborhood,” she said.

Kits are available during normal business hours at the following locations:

1. DOH-Orange County Central Building #3
901 West Church Street
Orlando, FL 32805

2. DOH-Orange County Lila Mitchell Center, Suite B Sunshine Care Center and STD Clinic
5151 Raleigh Street
Orlando, FL 32811

3. DOH Orange County Southside Center Family Planning / Prenatal and WIC
6101 Lake Ellenor Drive
Orlando, FL 32809

Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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