AmeriHealth offering Narcan for free to some members

AmeriHealth New Jersey and its affiliates, including Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia, will be offering a drug overdose reversal drug for free to some members beginning March 1.

Commercially insured individuals and business members with pharmacy benefits who have met their deductible will have access to Narcan, or the generic naloxone, for free.

Self-insured businesses will also have access, should they choose to participate, beginning April 1.

The move by the insurers is in hopes of curbing the sharp increases in opioid deaths in the state.

In 2016, 2,056 people died from a drug overdose in New Jersey. That was a 42 percent increase from the year before.

“AmeriHealth New Jersey has taken several steps to help prevent opioid abuse and to remove barriers for our members to get the help they need, but we felt we could do more,” said Dr. Frank Urbano, senior medical director for AmeriHealth New Jersey. “The opioid epidemic is the most severe drug crisis in American history, and opioid abuse is only growing in our region.”