CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. announced that naloxone is now available at each of the more than 2,500 Rite Aid pharmacies in the United States and can be dispensed without a prescription, subject to state regulations.
“The opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions and it is an issue that demands not only our attention but also our continued action to help reduce the rise in opioid deaths,” Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy said in a statement.
“For the past two years, we’ve worked with state and federal lawmakers to increase access to this life-saving medication. We support the Surgeon General’s recent Advisory on the importance of naloxone and are committed to offering it to our customers in all of the communities we serve.”
Rite Aid pharmacists have been provided with additional training to dispense naloxone and to provide counseling to patients who purchase the medication.
All Rite Aid pharmacies in the following states stock naloxone: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
In addition to increasing access to naloxone, additional measures taken by Rite Aid as part of its efforts to address drug abuse and misuse in the country include:
• Support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline for prescribing opioids. This includes limiting acute opioid prescriptions to a seven day supply, limiting the daily dosage of opioids dispensed based on the strength of the opioid and requiring the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended release opioids are dispensed.
• On-going education and training of Rite Aid pharmacists, including risk factors for opioid abuse, how to identify symptoms of an overdose and what to do in the event of an overdose, an overview of the various naloxone therapies available and proper administration of each and recommendations for follow-up care.
• Participation in prescription drug monitoring programs including a “red flag” process for pharmacists to regularly review prescriptions for patients not known by the pharmacy or where there may be concerns or suspicions of misuse and the implementation of a process to identify and discontinue filling prescriptions from prescribers with questionable writing practices.
• Increased patient education efforts: all patients receiving opioid prescriptions receive a handout on opioid use, safe storage, disposal and proper use of naloxone and all patients with new opioid prescriptions will receive mandatory counseling on their prescription from Rite Aid pharmacists.
The addition of resources on drug safety and disposal on www.riteaid.com. Visitors can search for a disposal site in their community, learn how to properly dispose of medication at home, access resources provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and find information on treatment for drug abuse and addiction.
Support of National Take-Back Days, including the next national event on April 28, by encouraging patients to bring their unused or unwanted medications to one of the designated sites sponsored by local law enforcement and the DEA.
Rite Aid’s pharmacy benefits management company, EnvisionRxOptions, currently utilizes a variety of customized opioid management solutions. This month, EnvisionRxOptions will be launching a standard opioid utilization management program for all of its clients, unless the client chooses to opt out. This program is based on the CDC guidelines and focuses on prior authorizations to address seven-day limits for patients who are new to therapy, limitations based on opioid strength and opioid formulation.
In addition to the efforts taken by the Company, The Rite Aid Foundation is also addressing the issue of drug abuse and misuse as part of its commitment to creating safe and healthy environments for children and teens.
In March, The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program announced a three-year, $1.125 million commitment to EverFi, the nation’s leading technology innovator, to bring the Prescription Drug Safety program to high schools in markets served by Rite Aid. The program uses an evidence-based, public health approach to empower high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drugs. The program launched in Pittsburgh and will be introduced to additional markets in Pennsylvania as well as several communities in Ohio, Oregon and Washington this year.
The Rite Aid Foundation’s Safe Medication Disposal Program, funded by KidCents, also continues to expand. Launched in September 2017, the program provides law enforcement agencies in communities served by Rite Aid with free medication disposal units for individuals to safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. As of this month, more than 150 law enforcement agencies across the country participate in the KidCents Safe Medication Disposal Program, with more than 230 units available in 18 states.