Hospital Hands Out Naloxone Kits to Combat Opioid Overdoses



Hospital Hands Out Naloxone Kits to Combat Opioid Overdoses


BRONX- Looking to stem the tide of opioid overdoses, one Bronx hospital is pioneering the distribution of life-saving kits for free.




NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln opened the first hospital-based naloxone kit distribution center to make the drug that reverses opioid overdose available free to the community at large and without a prescription. 
Last May, the Bronx hospital became the first patient care site in the NYC Health + Hospitals system to begin distributing the naloxone kits to all patients served by the emergency room, behavioral health and chemical dependency. The opening marks the health system’s commitment to establishing public distribution centers at all 11 public hospitals to expand access to this life-saving medication beyond the patient population.

According to the NYC Department of Health, drug overdose deaths in 2016 increased 46 percent from 2015.  More New Yorkers died of opioid related overdose than from car crashes and homicides combined in 2016. The South Bronx community has been particularly burdened by the misuse of opioids.   

Naloxone kits will be available every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 am – 4 pm, in conference room 2 at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln (234 East 149th Street, Bronx, NY, 10451). The kits are available to anyone 12 and older, no appointment is necessary.

Everyone who receives a kit will also be trained by hospital staff, which takes approximately 3-5 minutes. Training includes how to identify someone who is suffering from an overdose and how to properly administer the naloxone nasal spray.

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln has been a leader in providing comprehensive care and necessary resources to our patients suffering from substance use disorder, which accounts for 20 percent of the hospital’s emergency room encounters,” said Milton Nuñez, chief executive officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “As a designated naloxone distribution center in the community, it is our hope the public takes advantage of this free, life-saving tool, so we can make a significant impact in reducing the incidence of opioid overdoses the Bronx.”

“We are proud to offer this much needed intervention to help alleviate the high burden of death and suffering our community has experienced,” said Dr. Bala Kanna, Associate Chief Medical Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “Our goal is to prevent death and empower friends and family to help their loved ones.”

"I commend NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln for making naloxone available to community members in the South Bronx, a neighborhood with one of the five highest rates of overdose in New York City," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "Lincoln serves as a model for other hospitals to address the opioid overdose epidemic, including prescribing naloxone to their patients, offering medications for addiction treatment, and promoting judicious opioid prescribing."

Naloxone is used to prevent an overdose by opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone, by reversing the toxic effects of the drug. The medication is administered using a nasal spray, when someone is showing signs of opioid overdose, which includes when a person is unresponsive, breathing slows or stops, or lips and/or fingernails turn blue, pale or gray.

HealingNYC was launched in March 2017 by the Mayor and First Lady of New York City, with the goal of reducing opioid overdose deaths by 35 percent over the next five years. Approximately 20,000 patients are treated for opioid use disorder in emergency departments across NYC Health + Hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln cares for the second highest rate of patients with opioid use disorder in the health system.

In May, under HealingNYC, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln announced it was expanding naloxone distribution through the hospital, creating a hospital-based support system for nonfatal opioid overdoses. Since that announcement, the hospital has distributed 250 naloxone kits.

The Health Department worked closely with NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln’s Emergency Department to establish their Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, providing technical assistance and training. The Health Department has been partnering with NYC Health + Hospitals to support roll out of naloxone dispensing throughout the health system.    

To obtain a naloxone kit, individuals need to complete a form to account for the kit being distributed. No prescription is necessary.

To find additional locations that provide naloxone without prescription, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/health/naloxone

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