Walgreens said Monday that naloxone can now be dispensed without a prescription at its more than 240 pharmacies in Ohio and nearly 200 pharmacies in Indiana.
Naloxone, administered by injection or nasal spray, can be used to reverse the effects of heroin or other opioid drugs in the event of an overdose. When the drug is dispensed, instructions are provided on how to administer the medication, which includes calling 911 since those receiving the medication should seek immediate medical attention.
“By making naloxone available without a prescription, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones in need,” Chris Creamer, regional healthcare director in Ohio and Indiana for Walgreens, said in a statement. “We are committed to making naloxone more accessible in the communities we serve.”
According to Walgreens, naloxone is available without a prescription in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the drug chain began expanding the program earlier this month at its pharmacies in New York.
Plans call for Walgreens to provide naloxone without a prescription in 35 states and the District of Columbia this year, including more than 5,800 of its almost 8,200 stores.
“Heroin took the lives of more than 2,400 Ohioans in 2014,” stated Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “By making naloxone available to customers without a prescription, Walgreens will help make this lifesaving drug available to those who need it.”
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 47,055 drug overdose deaths, including from prescription and illicit drugs, which represented a 6.5% increase from 2013 and a 140% rise since 2000.
“We need all hands on deck to stop the unrelenting wave of opioid drug and heroin overdose deaths,” commented Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, creator and co-chair of the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force. “I’m particularly grateful Walgreens has stepped up to keep naloxone stocked in its stores, available for loved ones and others who may be in a position to save the life of someone struggling with addiction.”