Wyoming Department of Health to Restart Free Narcan Program
The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) announced in a press release that free orders of the temporary opioid overdose antidote Narcan will be available for Wyoming groups through the WDH.
Erica Mathews, Grants and Programs Unit manager with the WDH Behavioral Health Division, said in the release the program is for groups and not individuals.
"This program provides free Narcan to agencies, businesses and organizations in Wyoming that may be in position to help people who are experiencing an opioid overdose," Mathews said. "It’s meant for groups such as law enforcement agencies, emergency medical service providers and schools rather than for individual orders."
In 2021, 106 overdose deaths were recorded among Wyoming residents compared to 99 in 2020, 78 in 2019, 65 in 2018, 62 in 2017, 94 in 2016, 96 in 2015, 106 in 2014, 96 in 2013, and 99 in 2012.
The effort is being funded through the State Opioid Response Grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Kim Deti, the public information officer with the WDH, said that the grant money for the Narcan effort, $100,000 out of a larger grant pool, will be available until the end of September, but that they expect it's likely that they'll get the grant renewed, allowing them to allocate around $75,000 each year for Narcan.
"They're waiting confirmation on the grant to be continued, and they expect that it likely will," Deti said. "It would not be accurate to say 'it's only now,' we do expect it to continue, it's just not been absolutely confirmed...it's likely a continuing thing."
Deti said that various stakeholders across the state were interested in continuing the program after it had stopped for the past year due to a lack of grant funding.
"There was a clear interest in reviving the program...They had expressed interest to our department about how we'd like to have that again."
The WDH Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) previously provided Narcan to groups using federal funding from 2016 until the fall of 2021 when that grant participation ended for Wyoming.
According to Mathews, more than one dose of Narcan may be required when stronger opioids and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are involved, which are believed to be largely contributing to the recent increase in overdose deaths.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is also available throughout Wyoming to help treat opioid use disorders in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies.