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Naloxone Distribution Program participants are finding it difficult to keep up with public demand

The demand for Narcan in Kern County is so high that distribution partners like the Kern County Library and Kern Behavioral Health are having to move fast to keep doses in stock.
Narcan
Posted at 4:56 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 20:12:32-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Just one dose of Narcan can stop an overdose and save a life, and local organizations that participate in the Naloxone Distribution Project are feeling the demand.

Kern County Library Regional Supervisor Shalyn Pineda says the first day the Beale Memorial Library in Bakersfield offered Narcan to the public, there was a rush of people and that demand has remained steady.

“We just started about a month ago,” said Pineda. “I believe it was October we got our first shipment, and the response was so positive we ended up running out of Narcan at a lot of our branches in a couple days.”

The library started with 120 boxes from Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. Since those have run out, they’ve asked for 400 more boxes. According to Pineda, 10 to 15 people a day come in asking for doses.

“In the beginning, there was definitely a bit of a rush, and so I anticipate it will start steadying out, but really, it’s been pretty steady this whole time,” said Pineda.

Another organization feeling the demand for Narcan is Action Drug Rehab. Founder Cary Quashen says more people ask for doses every day.

“We get calls every day from parents that are actually panicked that their child is using drugs and they wanna have it in their house, and again, I think everyone should have it in their house,” said Quashen.

Both Action Drug Rehab and Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services get their Narcan through the Naloxone Distribution Project created by the California Department of Healthcare Services. According to Quashen, it means some people might see a bit of a wait.

“We have some, and we’re waiting for some more, but the problem is that we are in the midst of this huge epidemic and people are dying everywhere,” said Quashen. “I on’t think anyone expected it to be as bad as it is.”

Quashen adds that for some people, having more doses available now could mean the difference between life and death.

“When it comes to fentanyl, it’s not like any other opiate,” said Quashen. “Sometimes, one dose of this isn’t gonna cut it. You’re gonna need 2 or 3, so it’s highly in demand.”

The Kern County Library says that as of right now, they are stocked on Narcan, but it isn’t the only place participating in the Naloxone Distribution Project in Kern County. For more information on distribution locations, or if you’d like to sign up for Narcan training, visit Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ website.