Residents looking to receive free Narcan, a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids, can submit a request to pick it up from the city’s Health Department here.

Community members and organizations can also place orders for test strips that detect fentanyl and the increasingly prevalent drug xylazine here.

Xylazine, also known as tranq, is a tranquilizer approved only for use in animals. It has been increasingly found in illegal drug supplies and overdose deaths in the U.S. and can be especially lethal when combined with opioids like fentanyl.

Naloxone, or Narcan, can reverse the effects of fentanyl. Although Narcan does not work against tranq, xylazine test strips can detect the presence of the drug in other substances.

The city will reach out with instructions for pickup and delivery within a week of placing an order and will provide two Narcan nasal sprays per request, said Jennifer Rice Epstein, a Health Department spokesperson.

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These resources are part of a new harm reduction program run out of the Long Beach Health Department that’s intended to minimize damage or death from drug use. The program is funded by money awarded to the department in 2023 from a settlement with opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“This program is important in reducing the negative consequences of drug use, including communicable diseases and overdose deaths, while providing education, resources and support,” City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a statement.

To receive Narcan, the request form states that requestees must watch this video, which details how to:

  • Prevent an overdose
  • Recognize an opioid overdose, including checking responsiveness
  • Store and administer naloxone
  • Alert emergency medical services
  • Administer rescue breathing
  • Move someone to a recovery position
  • Give post-overdose care

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drug is responsible for more than 1,900 drug overdose deaths in LA County in 2022, according to a county public health report.

More affluent areas had higher numbers of fentanyl overdose deaths, but the rates of fatality per 100,000 people were much higher in the poorest areas with more than 30% of families living below the poverty line, the report said.

Fentanyl was responsible for 234 out of nearly 300 opioid-related deaths in Long Beach from 2018 to 2022, according to Epstein.

Long Beach Health Department’s main building is at 2525 Grand Ave. For more information on the department’s substance use resources and harm reduction efforts, click here.

Maison Tran is a fellow at the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected].