Program to distribute anti-overdose drug to begin in Western Virginia

FILE - A kit with naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is displayed at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)

STAUNTON, Va. (WRIC) — A Shenandoah Valley health department district is starting a pilot program to distribute naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug.

Health officials said in a news release recently that the Central Shenandoah Health District will join three community service boards in providing naloxone and free training for how to use it.

Individuals who have overdosed or members of their family should consider having the potentially life-saving drug on hand.

Naloxone is also known by the brand name Narcan. It can quickly revive someone who has stopped breathing after overdosing. In the past, the drug was available mostly through clinics, hospitals or first responders, but many states and retailers have been easing access.

Virginia declared a statewide public health emergency over the rising number of opioid overdose deaths in November.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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