CVS Health announced that CVS/pharmacy has decided to expand the availability of the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, across several other states. Initially, the said medication was already available at various CVS/pharmacy locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Now, naloxone is also going to be available in 12 more states, including Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.
Furthermore, CVS/pharmacy also plans to make naloxone readily available by allowing customers to purchase the medicine without a prescription. As CVS/pharmacy Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices Tom Davis, RPh explains, “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.”
There are more than 44,000 people who die from accidental drug overdoses throughout the United States each year. The said deaths are said to be mostly caused by opioids, which include controlled substance pain medication as well as illegal drugs such as heroin. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that as much as 44 people die from overdose of prescription painkillers every day in the United States. Common drugs linked to prescription overdose include hyrdocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone and methadone.
At the same time, CVS/pharmacy is also taking another proactive step against drug abuse by teaming up with the Boston Medical Center and Rhode Island Hospital in support of a demonstration project for pharmacy-based naoloxone rescue kits that can help reduce opioid addiction and prevent overdose deaths.
According to a presentation done by Alice Bell for the Overdose Prevention Project of Prevention Point Pittsburgh (PPP), it is believed that naloxone should ideally be contained in the first aid kit of various first responders, including police cars, ambulances, community centers, homeless shelters, substance abuse treatment programs and schools. Moreover, naloxone should also be part of home first aid kits.