In an effort to fight America’s opioid epidemic, over 8,000 Walgreens stores are now stocking a nasal spray that reverses the effects of an overdose.
The FDA-approved Narcan nasal spray is a form of naloxone that can now be purchased over the counter and used to stop an overdose from prescription painkillers or heroin.
Additionally, Walgreens plans on taking steps to educate any patient who is dispensed a controlled substance greater than 50 morphine milligram equivalents on how to properly use Narcan and the dangers of opioids.
“By stocking Narcan in all our pharmacies, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it is needed,” said Rick Gates, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy. “As a pharmacy, we are committed to making Narcan more accessible in the communities we serve.”
While Narcan was formerly available without a prescription in only 10 states, it can now be purchased in 45. Walgreens representatives say that they plan on working with officials in the remaining five states to allow Narcan’s over-the-counter sale.
“This action is an important milestone and we applaud Walgreens initiatives to improve access to Narcan Nasal Spray in communities across the U.S.,” said Seamus Mulligan, Chief Executive Officer of Adapt Pharma, the manufacturer of Narcan Nasal Spray. “This effort, combined with the opportunity for patients and caregivers to obtain Narcan Nasal Spray without an individual prescription in 45 states, is critical in combating this crisis.”
This is not the first step that Walgreens has taken to fight opioid addiction, either – the pharmacy chain has also collected more than 155 tons of unwanted medications through its safe medication disposal kiosks in 600 stories across 45 states and Washington D.C. The kiosks allow individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of unwanted prescriptions, including controlled substances and over-the-counter medications, year-round at no cost.
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