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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — A federal grant announced Friday is making naloxone more available in eight Kentucky counties.

The grant was awarded to the University of Kentucky and the Commonwealth by Gov. Andy Beshear.

“I have witnessed firsthand how Narcan can save the life of someone who has overdosed, and my administration remains committed to providing this life-saving medicine,” said Beshear in a news release. “Today’s announcement is one more step we are taking to fight the drug epidemic that has taken far too many Kentuckians.”

The drug, brand name Narcan, reverses the effect of drug overdoses.

According to a news release Kentuckians under community supervision and their family and friends, reporting to Probation and Parole offices located in Boyd, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Kenton, and Madison counties can receive Narcan free of charge through the grant.

“We’ve actually partnered with close to 150 different agencies now in these eight communities to establish overdose education and naloxone distribution programs,” said Trish Freeman, a UK professor.

Battle against overdose

A 2020 Overdose Fatality Report released by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy showed more than 1,964 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2020, a 49% increase compared with the year prior.

This grant hopes to see those numbers decrease.

“What we say is, ‘you can’t recover if you’re not breathing.’ if you’re not alive, you don’t have a shot at recovery. Narcan is not a treatment, but it is an intervention that can save someone’s life to give them the opportunity to engage in a recovery and what it’s going to look like for them,” said Alex Elswick, Voices of Hope Lex.