Home Social Justice CVS will soon sell overdose antidote over the counter

CVS will soon sell overdose antidote over the counter

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Starting next month, CVS Health Corp. will no longer require a prescription for naloxone, a reversal antidote used to treat opioid overdoses.

White House National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp announced the change Monday. A program called Deaths Avoided With Naloxone was also created in 2014 to educate people on how to use naloxone.

“The health departments have Project DAWN Kits available for distribution to the public at no cost as long as they go through the short training on how to administer the naloxone before they receive the kit,” said Bill Dunlap, deputy director of 317 Board, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board in Athens and two neighboring counties. “The pharmacies are also required to provide training to those receiving the naloxone from a pharmacy.”

Dunlap believes that CVS’s move was well-made. According to Ohio Emergency Medical Services, naloxone was administered 6,528 times to overdose patients in 2015 and a total of approximately 74,000 times from 2003 to 2012. The number of annual naloxone administrations grew every year, from 4,010 in 2003 to 10,589 in 2012, according to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

“This move by CVS Pharmacy is a good idea because it will increase the opportunity for addicts, family members and friends to have kits available to save the lives of their loved ones,” Dunlap said. “Kroger and Giant Eagle are other pharmacies that we expect to come on board soon with this initiative.”

China Dodley, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, explained that changes have been made to how naloxone was administered with EMS involvement.

“In regards to the overall topic of naloxone and the Division of Emergency Medical Service involvement, the Emergency Medical, Fire and Transportation Services (EMFTS) Board recently updated the Naloxone Administration,” she said.

The Naloxone Administration contains intranasal route and auto-injectors education and a training module for Ohio EMS providers.  

Local training and written protocols must be approved before the local medical directors allow Ohio certified EMS providers to perform naloxone administration in the field, according to Ohio Emergency Medical Service.

Dunlap believes that CVS is doing the right thing and saving people’s lives by allowing naloxone to be sold.

“I believe this to be a great move forward by CVS, and we support any initiative that will save lives and enable us to refer individuals who overdose from opiates to treatment while we continue to battle this opiate epidemic in our communities,” Dunlap said.

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