SAN JOSE, Calif. - South Bay residents concerned about the rising rates of opioid overdoses and deaths will now have access to a crucial tool for life-saving intervention.
That tool is medication that can now be ordered and delivered by mail.
"It’s a win-win, I think," said registered nurse Anjanette DeVito, who manages Santa Clara County's Addiction Medicine & Therapy Program.
She said since last month, the county has made Naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, available by mail. The move comes amid rising opioid overdose deaths that have been especially devastating for parents of teens and young people.
Since 2018, the number of opioid deaths has increased by a factor of 15 to 160 fatalities related to fentanyl poisoning.
In response, this past December, the five-person Board of Supervisors voted to make Narcan available for free through the U.S. Postal Service. One dose, administered through the nose, can stop a drug overdose.
County officials had already approved free Narcan distribution at jails, schools, and from vending machines.
"People might have a need because of roommates or neighbors or friends and loved ones that they know that they suspect have drug use issue," said Supervisor Otto Lee. "Having that available they will be able to obtain them (in) the most easy way, in this case by mail order."
Added DeVito, "We will mail out the medication the very next day. Just makes (it) more widespread. You don’t have to then, schedule something in person, come to one of the clinics."
Although there’s no cost to get Narcan from the county, the county does buy the medication in bulk for a reduced rate. Officials said this year they hope to have the life-saving drug distributed in bars, restaurants, and major sporting events.