New York State Department of Health Launches Campaign Emphasizing Importance of Carrying Naloxone

The Opioid Reversal Medication Can Save Lives and Help End the Opioid Epidemic

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 12, 2023) - The New York State Department of Health has launched an overdose prevention campaign emphasizing the importance of carrying naloxone, a safe and easily administered medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if given in a timely manner. The campaign is underway and will run through August 30.

"The opioid overdose epidemic has had a devastating impact on far too many New Yorkers, their families and loved ones," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said." Everyone should be educated in recognizing the signs of an overdose and have access to the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone. Naloxone, which comes in many FDA-approved brands, is available in every pharmacy in New York State and will save lives and help bring us closer to finally ending the opioid epidemic."

The campaign, which launched July 10 and is partially funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), includes infographics that will appear across social media and digital platforms. The images and audio/video streaming spots were designed to inform New Yorkers about the signs and symptoms of an overdose and a reminder that naloxone is safe and legal to carry.

The opioid overdose epidemic is a significant public health crisis in New York State and across the country. The Department strongly encourages all individuals, families, and communities to take proactive measures to combat the crisis and save lives. Carrying naloxone, a medication that can rapidly reverse opioid overdose, has emerged as one of the most effective means of addressing this emergency and saving lives.

Naloxone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking the effects of opioids and gradually restoring normal breathing. Naloxone is available in various forms, including nasal spray and injectable options and is effective in addressing an overdose involving fentanyl.

Naloxone is available in every pharmacy in New York State. Any resident can simply ask their pharmacist for naloxone. Residents with prescription insurance coverage can obtain up to $40 in co-payment assistance through the Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program (N-CAP). N-CAP has been established to increase access to this life-saving medication. This program aims to make naloxone more affordable and readily accessible to those in need to reduce harm and prevent overdose deaths.

Several key factors underscore the vital importance of carrying naloxone in New York State, including the following:

  • Increasing Overdose Rates: Fueled by the presence of fentanyl in the drug supply, opioid overdose rates in New York State have witnessed a concerning surge in recent years. By carrying naloxone, individuals can be prepared to provide immediate assistance to someone in crisis, potentially saving their life.
  • Prevention of Fatalities: Time is of the essence during an opioid overdose. Administering naloxone promptly can revive individuals experiencing an overdose, preventing fatalities, and providing them with a chance to seek the necessary support and treatment.
  • Empowerment for Individuals and Communities: By carrying naloxone, friends and family members can actively participate in combating the opioid overdose crisis. This campaign empowers people to take swift and effective action, promoting the overall safety and well-being of individuals residing in New York State.
  • Promoting Good Samaritan Laws: New York State has enacted Good Samaritan Laws, which provide legal protection against certain drug-related charges for those who report an overdose and seek medical assistance. Carrying naloxone demonstrates a commitment to saving lives and promoting a culture of compassion, support, and kindness when it's needed most.

This campaign builds upon the Departments multifaceted anti-stigma campaign Safer Choices for People who Use Drugs which encourages people to test their drugs before use, carry naloxone and to look out for their friends who use drugs. The campaign is built upon harm reduction principles that seek to support people as they use drugs. Drug treatment is a valuable resource but not every person who uses drugs needs treatment although anyone using drugs can experience an overdose.

In August 2022, the Department announced a statewide pharmacy standing order for all pharmacies across New York State to carry naloxone and dispense the medication without a prescription. All 4mg per 0.1cc FDA approved formulations are covered under the standing order.

The opioid overdose crisis demands a comprehensive and multifaceted approach from all members of society. Carrying naloxone is an essential step towards curbing this epidemic and ensuring the safety and well-being of our citizens.

For more information on Naloxone and the Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program (N-CAP), please visit Safer Choices for People Who Use Drugs (

Details on New York State's Opioid Overdose Prevention Program can be found at New York State's Opioid Overdose Prevention Program (