Kroger Pharmacies in Louisville Now Offering Naloxone Without a Prescription

By David Konow 08/19/16

Kroger joins the growing list of retail pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and CVS that carry naloxone without a prescription.

Kroger Pharmacies in Louisville Now Offering Naloxone Without a Prescription

Kroger, one of the largest grocery retailers in the world, will now offer the lifesaving opioid antidote, naloxone, in the chain’s Kentucky stores. The retailer announced on Monday that naloxone can officially be purchased from 96 Kroger pharmacies throughout Kentucky without a prescription.

“We see the impact of this on families we serve in our pharmacies and it’s devastating," a pharmacy director of Kroger's Louisville Division told the Courier-Journal. "Our staff was very eager to help provide families a way to be prepared in the event they had an emergency.”

Over 300 pharmacists in Kentucky Kroger stores have been trained on how to use naloxone this summer, so they may pass the information along to customers.

Kroger executives are hoping that the greater availability of naloxone will help prevent overdoses in Kentucky. Naloxone can be injected into a patient, and it can also be administered as a nasal spray, known as Narcan.

Naloxone works as an opiate blocker, or as The Atlantic once explained, it “reverses the [overdose] process by acting like a toddler grabbing for another child’s toy, preventing death by shoving the opiate out of the way and binding to the receptor itself. This sends the user into immediate withdrawal.”

To protect their students from overdoses, several Kentucky high schools are keeping naloxone in stock, and police officers are keeping it in their arsenals as well. Training sessions in how to use naloxone have been popping up regularly in churches, libraries, and community centers. The president of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association, Trish Freeman, hopes the overdose antidote will eventually be available in every county in the state.

Other major retailers have decided to expand access to naloxone as well. As of this month, the drug is available without a prescription in CVS Pharmacies in 30 states—including New Mexico, Louisiana, Idaho, and Washington. Walgreens has expanded over-the-counter availability of naloxone as well. Currently, it is available without a prescription in 2,600 Walgreens pharmacies across 14 states. Most recently, North Carolina and Wisconsin were added to the list. The retailer's goal is to eventually offer the drug at nearly all of its 8,200 pharmacies across the U.S.

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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