“The irony there is that we’re taking the money away from drug dealers and using it to pay for life-saving medications of people that they get addicted to this drug,” Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said.
Here’s how it works: When an uninsured person walks into a particular pharmacy and asks for Narcan, the pharmacy sends the bill to Gloucester police and the department picks up the tab, Campanello said.
“We’re initially offering each person that comes in one supply every 30 days so that we can make sure we at least get a supply to everyone who comes in in Gloucester,” he said.
The partnerships with local pharmacies are part of a new approach by Campanello’s department to deal with the opioid epidemic that is affecting Gloucester and other communities in Massachusetts. Campanello said the department felt the need to step in when they learned it could cost up to $120 for Narcan if you don’t have insurance and just a few bucks if you do.
“We weren’t going to make a distinction … on whose life was more valuable,” Campanello said.
The CDC believes 1.1 million Americans are HIV-positive, but as many as one-fifth of them don’t know they’ve contracted the virus. Testing for HIV has come a long way in recent years — what used to take days or weeks can now be accomplished in under an hour. Of course, a positive test result will still mean a battery of follow-up tests and possible treatment. Walgreens clinics that discover positives will refer the patient to local doctors.