CVS Pharmacies Will Now Offer Naloxone in 12 New States

By May Wilkerson 02/04/16

Naloxone is estimated to have already saved 10,000 lives between 2006 and 2010.

CVS Pharmacies Will Now Offer Naloxone in 12 New States
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Ohio is among 12 states in the country that are preparing to offer life-saving overdose reversal drug, naloxone, over-the-counter. Back in September, CVS/pharmacy announced they would be doing their part to help reduce opiate overdoses by expanding access to the antidote, also known as Narcan, which was previously only available for purchase without a prescription in two states: Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It will now be available in 12 more: Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

Narcan is administered as an inhaler or with an injection and it can reverse the breath-suppressing effects of opioids, like heroin or prescription painkillers. Evidence has shown wider availability of Narcan is associated with a significant drop in overdose deaths.

"Over 44,000 people die from accidental drug overdoses every year in the United States and most of those deaths are from opioids, including controlled substance pain medication and illegal drugs such as heroin." said Tom Davis, vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS/pharmacy. "Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by providing access to this medication in our pharmacies without a prescription in more states, we can help save lives."

CVS Health is also currently involved in a research project with Boston Medical Center and Rhode Island Hospital to demonstrate the use of naloxone rescue kits to help reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths. 

Back in 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged governments across the globe to expand access to Narcan. “If opioids are easily available in people’s bathroom cabinets, it might make sense for naloxone to be equally available,” said WHO expert Nicolas Clark. According to the WHO, increased access to the drug could potentially save more than 20,000 lives per year in the United States alone. Between 2006 and 2010, the drug is estimated to have saved more than 10,000 lives.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.