LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Department of Liquor Control announced it is making the overdose-reversing drug Narcan available to all liquor licensees on the island in an effort to reduce opioid-related deaths.
“(Opioid overdoses have) been an ongoing problem,” said Leo Sandoval-Reyes, the department’s director, in an interview with The Garden Island last week.
“We just wanted to make sure that we have the tools available for our licensees in case something does happen. So we’re being more preventative than reactive in providing these particular Narcan packets.”
According to Sandoval-Reyes, the state donated $30,000 for the county to receive a total of 460 Narcan kits, and all dispensaries, restaurants, cruise ships and any other businesses with a liquor license are eligible to receive two kits from the department.
The July 27 announcement comes just a few months after the U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved the nasal spray Narcan, also known as Naloxone, for over-the-counter use in March.
It also follows Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s signing of Bill 28 on July 25, which requires all bars and restaurants in the city to now carry the medication.
Bill 28 describes a worsening of opioid-related deaths, noting data from the Hawai‘i State Department of Health shows the state had 59 deaths from opioid overdoses between August 2017 to August 2018. That number increased to 274 in 2020, a nearly 500 percent increase, according to the bill.
Sandoval-Reyes said the county’s Department of Liquor Control has been working with the Department of Health on the initiative since March, when there were a total of 230 liquor licensees on Kaua‘i.
The department asked the state for 460 Narcan kits so each business would be able to receive two kits, but Sandoval-Reyes said the number of licensees has gone up by about 20 since that time.
He said the department would work to get more kits depending on response and interest.
“I’m hoping that there’s a positive response,” said Sandoval-Reyes, adding that he hopes businesses will see the kits as a “call to action” to watch out for clients and customers that may be at risk of an overdose.
All liquor licensees in the county can pick up two Narcan kits at the Department of Liquor Control, located at 4444 Rice St., suite 120, in Lihue, during regular business hours.
“There’s a training video that’s been made up, and it’s by the actual manufacturer of Narcan. And we just want to make sure that if they have any questions they have them answered before they pick it up. And then once they acknowledge that they’ve received the training, they’re off to take it to their establishment,” he said.
Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached 808-652-0638 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island