Three Pharmacies in Asbury Park Offer Free Naloxone

Home Drug Store at 814 Main St.
Walgreens Pharmacy at 901 Maint St.
Quick Med Pharmacy at 1221 Main St.

At the Asbury Park City Council meeting on Wednesday evening, when questioned about a new message on our electronic sign, City Manager Lillian Nazzaro shared that there has been a recent alarming increase in opioid overdoses. Nazzaro was made aware of the increase during a briefing with the police where it was revealed to her that recently Asbury Park had five overdoses in one day. Each one of the people overdosing were saved by Narcan, the brand name for naloxone. The events were separate incidents.

As a result of the growing public health crisis, Asbury Park’s electronic sign on Main Street in Sunset Park has the following message: Please be aware that many street drugs have been tainted with additives such as Fentanyl and Xylazine which are causing an increased danger to users.

Please be aware that many street drugs have been tainted with additives such as Fentanyl and Xylazine which are causing an increased danger to users.

City of Asbury Park

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S. Throughout the country, 150 people a day die from overdoses related to Fentanyl and synthetic opioids.”

Xylazine, commonly known as tranq, is a non-opioid sedative and analgesic medication used in veterinary medicine. The drug is primarily administered to horses or cattle to sedate and anesthetize non-humans. It is not approved for people. There has been an increasing concern about its presence in the illegal drug supply, particularly because it’s being mixed with opioids like fentanyl. This combination can be life-threatening and has been linked to overdose deaths. 

Harm Reduction

The National Harm Reduction Coalition underscores that opioid deaths are preventable. According to its website, communities that have naloxone distribution programs, deaths from overdoses decrease by 20 to 40 percent. The NJ Harm Reduction Coalition has seven Harm Reduction Centers, and one is located in Asbury Park. It is housed at the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey’s Prevention Resources Network office on 4th Avenue.

The NJ Department of Health has been tracking Narcan/Naloxone incidents since January 1, 2017. There were 827 incidents from then until March 31, 2024 in the 07712-zip code area. 07712 includes Asbury Park and Ocean Township.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention gives the following advice if you think someone is overdosing:

It may be hard to tell whether a person is high or experiencing an overdose. If you aren’t sure, treat it like an overdose—you could save a life.

  • Call 911 Immediately.
  • Administer naloxone, if available.
  • Try to keep the person awake and breathing.
  • Lay the person on their side to prevent choking.
  • Stay with the person until emergency assistance arrives.

Naloxone365: NJ Free Overdose Treatment Drug Naloxone at Pharmacies Program

In January 2023, Governor Murphy instituted a program to allow anyone 14 years or older to acquire naloxone anonymously and at no cost at participating pharmacies throughout New Jersey. A list of participating pharmacies and their locations can be found on the State of New Jersey’s website. Many of the pharmacies at your local ShopRite, CVS, Walgreens, Stop and Shop, Walmart as well as others participate in the program.

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A 2021 News 12 New Jersey’s segment on Harm Reduction featuring Caitlin O’Neill and Governor Murphy. In 2023, additional Harm Reduction legislation has been passed to enable anyone over 14 years old to get Naloxone from participating pharmacies for free.

Kerry Margaret Butch is a founding member of the Asbury Park Reporter. Throughout her career, she worked to increase grassroots input in local public policy. She served as the Executive Director of both the Asbury Park Consortium and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Notably, she produced the documentaries entitled, “Greetings from Asbury Park,” shown throughout the country and on PBS, and “Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election.”

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