Santa Clara County providing free Narcan by mail

Santa Clara County providing free Narcan by mail

With fentanyl and other opioids continuing to take a deadly toll on the country, Santa Clara County has begun distributing Narcan, the opioid overdose-reversing nasal spray, by mail to residents free of charge.

Narcan, also known by its generic name naloxone, was approved by the FDA last year for use without a prescription and has become a popular tool for local governments and schools looking to curb the number of opioid overdoses. But the life-saving medicine comes with a hefty price tag with out of pocket costs ranging from $70 to $150.

Santa Clara County has already stocked free Narcan in several of its libraries, making the mail-order effort just the latest initiative to combat the opioid crisis.

Anjanette DeVito, the nurse manager for the county’s addiction medicine and therapy programs, said that since Dec. 1, the county has fulfilled nearly 60 requests — or 120 kits — of Narcan. Residents interested in obtaining Narcan can contact the county at 408-272-6055 or [email protected], and the county will send the nasal spray out within 24 hours.

DeVito said the mail order Narcan isn’t just another way to get the medicine in more people’s hands — but a way to train them how to use it, as well.

“For someone who doesn’t have the time during the work day this was another avenue to make the medication or the training available,” she said. “When we receive an email or phone call that someone is interested in our mail order program we provide them with the manufacturers training video through email link and a QR code both through the email and also on the box.”

Supervisor Cindy Chavez said adding a mail order program was the logical next step as many residents are already used to getting their prescriptions or COVID-19 tests in the mail.

In her conversations with residents, she’s learned that not everyone feels comfortable picking up Narcan at their local library out of fear that others might think they’re a drug user themselves.

“Even if they’re not drug users, they’re around people who are and so a lot of the folks who are requesting this aren’t using drugs themselves but have friends or family who do,” Chavez said. “Being somebody who is responsible, just wanting to be ready just like you would take a CPR class, that’s how we’re wanting to make it feel.”

With fentanyl killing a record number of Californians in 2022, the state in recent years has ratcheted up efforts to fight the opioid crisis with a slate of new laws.

A new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year requires public and charter schools to create safety plans about how they would handle a student having an opioid overdose on campus. Community colleges and state universities now have to provide fentanyl test strips to students, as well.

Santa Clara County also provides free in-person trainings and Narcan at several county clinics. For more information visit