Funded by her new CHERISH grant, Behrends is working with the New York City Department of Health to assess citywide Naloxone (Narcan) distribution patterns, outcomes and requirements for new resources. She is currently interviewing managers at homeless shelters, substance abuse programs, emergency departments and other settings that have an ongoing association with opioid users. As New York shifts more funding into its Naloxone program it needs to know how to best expand it. Behrends’ findings will help to map out new distribution points for the overdose-reversing drug and identify barriers that may impede its broader availability.
“So far,” said Behrends, “the barriers seem different for different types of organizations. The larger ones face challenges in managing their Naloxone supply because when they order from New York City, the Naloxone is shipped to a single place and they have to redistribute it to elsewhere in the city, which is really complicated. Smaller programs have more trouble keeping up with community demand for Naloxone training. They try the best they can, but money is an issue.”
“Overall,” Behrends continued, “the administrative red tape around how Naloxone is distributed is challenging and that is the basis of the question for us: how to get it to the people who need it most?”