The Alamance County Health Department, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Healthy Blue Medicaid plan and Vaya Health partnered to install a new Narcan kiosk at the Alamance County Health Department Human Services Center.
Narcan is a life-saving medication that can reverse opioid overdoses. The kiosk is a vending machine that provides free Narcan nasal spray for anyone in the community to obtain. As overdoses and deaths continue to impact Alamance County, a Narcan kiosk is an important way for the community to access this lifesaving medication.
“Harm reduction initiatives like this kiosk are critical to address the opioid epidemic and we are honored to be part of these efforts,” said Ashley Barber, coordinator for Health Services at the Alamance County Health Department. “In 2023, 433 Alamance County citizens were seen in the emergency department for unintentional medication or drug overdose. The youngest person treated was 14 years old and the oldest was 93. An overdose can happen to anyone who is legally prescribed opioids or anyone who consumes illegal drugs.”
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, more than 36,000 North Carolinians lost their lives to drug overdose from 2000-2022, many of those involving opioids. Preliminary data for 2022 shows that 3,875 people in North Carolina and 50 in Alamance County died of drug overdose.
“This kiosk – its location and purpose – is a powerful reminder that, at Blue Cross NC, we work on behalf of all North Carolinians and the communities we call home,” said Angela Boykin, Healthy Blue Chief Executive Officer and Blue Cross NC Vice President for Engagement, Integration, Innovation. “By working with our local communities to make this easy-to-use medication more accessible, the impact reaches beyond the individual lives saved – into our families, our workplaces and our neighborhoods.”
The new kiosk was unveiled with a ribbon-cutting and a demonstration on Jan. 10 and is now available for the community.
“We all know that no one agency, one person, one organization can fix the opioid addiction problem. But when we work together, good things can happen,” said Meenal Khajuria, community relations regional manager at Vaya Health. “This isn’t just a good thing, it’s a life-saving thing.”