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Author: Justin Mckibben
You may remember back in early 2016 the pharmacy organization Walgreens announced two programs to address key issues in the opioid crisis.
- Safe medical disposal kiosks for unused prescription drugs
- Narcan expansion programs
By the end of 2016, Walgreens had expanded access to the opioid overdose antidote without the requirement of a prescription to 33 states and the District of Columbia. The Narcan opioid overdose antidote, also known by the generic name Naloxone, is a nasal spray that is utilized all over the country as a means to revive someone experiencing an opioid overdose.
Now, this life-saving compound is becoming even more accessible, as Walgreens is announcing the Narcan opioid overdose antidote will now be available at all of its over 8,000 pharmacy locations!
Pharmacies Stepping Up to the State of Emergency
This new move to combat the opioid epidemic comes at a crucial time. The epidemic continues to claim lives every day, with recovery advocates and government officials rallying for more resources to fight the problem.
Today, Thursday, October 26, 2017, the nation is expecting President Donald Trump to officially declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency at a scheduled White House event.
According to Rick Gates, Vice President of Walgreens,
“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.”
The company offers Narcan opioid overdose antidote without a prescription in 45 states and is willing to work with the remaining states to make to include them.
Of course, the fight for more availability of Narcan and Naloxone has been going on for some time. However, it seems as the country is calling for more sweeping action from government officials; pharmacies are taking it as a call to action themselves. Rick Gates went on to say,
“As a pharmacy, we are committed to making Narcan more accessible in the communities we serve.”
Walgreens also says it will inform customers about the Narcan opioid overdose antidote if they receive drugs with more than 50 morphine milligram equivalents (MME). This is actually a recommendation from the CDC.
It isn’t just Walgreens either. CVS pharmacy has expanded access to Narcan and other products that contain naloxone. CVS reportedly has been offering prescription-free naloxone in up to 43 states as of last month. CVS pharmacies have said that its locations “in most communities have naloxone on hand and can dispense it the same day or ordered for the next business day.”
Big Pharma’s Role
Big Pharma wholesaler AmerisourceBergen is also helping in these efforts. AmerisourceBergen is now distributing Narcan demo devices at no cost to Walgreens pharmacists. These demo devices will help with instructing patients on how to administer the medication safely and effectively.
Robert Mauch, Executive Vice President & Group President, Pharmaceutical Distribution & Strategic Global Sourcing for AmerisourceBergen, states,
“At AmerisourceBergen, we strive to provide our customers the highest quality care and support so they can ultimately enhance the lives of patients in their communities,”
“We recognize the important role we play in addressing the opioid epidemic, and our collaboration with Walgreens is another key milestone to supply our customers with access to lifesaving initiatives and emergency medications that can help keep individuals safe across the country.”
Ironically, AmerisourceBergen just so happens to be one of the three largest drug distributors that were mentioned in the recent 60 Minutes interview with ex-DEA agent Joe Rannazzisi. In the segment that has since caused a major uproar, Rabbazzisi said companies including AmerisourceBergen controlled probably 85%- 90% of drugs that went “downstream” and ended up on the streets.
This might not be what Mauch meant by “recognize the important role we play”, but at least it seems like AmerisourceBergen is taking steps to become part of a solution.
Meanwhile, Adapt Pharma, the manufacturer of Narcan Nasal Spray, celebrates this action by Walgreens to expand naloxone and Narcan access. Seamus Mulligan, CEO at Adapt Pharma states,
“This action is an important milestone and we applaud Walgreens initiatives to improve access to Narcan Nasal Spray in communities across the U.S.,”
“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.”
America is working hard to find the right path on the road to recovery from the devastating opioid crisis. It is crucial that we make every possible resource available to help save lives. With opioid overdose killing an estimated 91 people every day, the need for this life-saving medication could not be more evident.
Beyond reversing the effects of an overdose, there is more we need to do. While having access to Narcan and naloxone can help tremendously, we also need to promote recovery and addiction treatment resources. Preservation of life is important, but giving people the help they need to live a happier and healthier life should also be a priority in the fight to overcome the opioid crisis. Palm Partners Recovery Center believes in actively providing the best in innovative and holistic treatment opportunities, to help transform lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we want to help. Please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
With the opioid epidemic in America there have been a lot of advances in the field of addiction treatment, as well as innovations in prevention and intervention. One of the most useful elements of preserving the lives of thousands of people across the country has been the development and implementation of the opioid overdose antidote Narcan. So many people are impacted by opioid abuse, and so many families and friends to addicts want to help in any way they can to give their loved ones an opportunity at surviving their struggles. A lot of people are still unsure how to obtain some of these life-saving resources, especially when it comes to the overdose antidote.
The truth is, basically anyone can get access to Naloxone or Narcan, with various expansion programs existing for the purpose of providing vital support to the communities afflicted. Also, anyone can be trained on how to use it. There are a few ways to obtain Narcan.
How Do You Get Narcan: What is Narcan/Naloxone
Just to verify, Narcan is the brand name of this life-saving medication. Naloxone is the generic name. Narcan (Naloxone) is used to counteract and reverse the deadly effects of an overdose of opiate drugs such as heroin, Oxycodone,Hydrocodone and others as well.
Naloxone hydrochloride, the scientific name, is a white to slightly off-white powder and is soluble in water. Naloxone Hydrochloride injection is available as a non-preserved sterile solution for intravenous, intramuscular or subcutaneous administration in 1 mg/mL concentration.
Narcan is also supplied as a nasal spray, which provides for a decreased risk factor and makes it easier to administer for many by eliminating needles. In these forms, Naloxone and Narcan expansion has become a very big part of combatting the opioid epidemic, and through many groups advocating for its use, Narcan has become available in many ways.
How Do You Get Narcan: CVS and Walgreens
One way is through pharmacy companies like CVS and Walgreens.
Back in late 2015, the pharmacy company CVS announced it would be selling the opioid overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription in 14 states. Then in early 2016 CVS announced they would be expanding the program to 20 states by the end of the year. Of course, pharmacy boards in each state can make the decisions about offering Naloxone or Narcan without a prescription, but CVS has worked to further grant access to people all over the nation. You can look online to see if it is available in your area.
Also in early 2016 the pharmacy organization Walgreens announced two programs to address key issues in the opioid crisis.
- Safe medical disposal kiosks for unused prescription drugs
- Narcan expansion
By the end of 2016 Walgreens had expanded naloxone access without the requirement of a prescription to 33 states and the District of Columbia. Walgreens also continues to express the intention to further expand these programs. A quick online search you let you know if it is currently available without a prescription at a Walgreens near you.
How Do You Get Narcan: Other Options
In truth there are a lot of different ways to get Narcan, depending on where you are. To name a few:
You can contact a family physician in order to gain access to a Naloxone or Narcan kit, and should even be able to get training on how to utilize it.
State or Local Health Department
Your state or local health department should be able to provide you with all the information about any Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs in your area that provide the resources and training for the overdose antidote.
Harm Reduction Organizations
There are clinics, community centers and other harm reduction organizations all over the country that work to provide extensive support, resources and information. The Harm Reduction Coalition is America’s national harm reduction network operating overdose prevention programs for years.
The Overdose Prevention Alliance (OPA)
The OPA is a home for information and debate on drug overdose worldwide. It operates with the goal of cutting overdose and mortality rates. The OPA aims to collect and document major issues in overdose worldwide, encourage overdose prevention initiatives. Finding this resource could also be a huge help.
How Do You Get Narcan: Making a Difference
In the end, there are so many avenues someone can take to obtain this crucial tool in the fight against opioid overdose. Some community leaders even organize local workshops where they invite the public to come and get training on how to use Naloxone or Narcan. Some colleges even provide Naloxone kits to students, and many of both kinds of programs are free of charge.
The goal with any program is to try and save lives. At the end of the day that is what it comes down to; saving lives. Every bit of these resources makes a difference.
Still, beyond being revived from an overdose; beyond having access to the opioid overdose antidote is the need for safe and effective treatment. Having a second chance means using it. Keeping someone alive after a nearly fatal overdose is a huge feat, but there has to be more to helping someone, and that is where holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs make the biggest difference.
If you or someone you love have survived an opioid overdose and don’t know what to do next, do not hesitate to get help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
A while back, CVS made the bold decision to cease the sale of tobacco products in their stores. Now, new data reveals their decision to stop selling cigarettes contributed to a drop in tobacco purchases from all retailers. Furthermore, CVS customers were 38% more likely to stop buying cigarettes, according to research from the American Journal of Public Health.
The analysis comes less than three years after the company stopped selling all tobacco products. The move garnered national attention from public health advocates, doctors, and even the white house.
“After CVS’s tobacco removal, household- and population-level cigarette purchasing declined significantly,” the study concluded.
CVS officially stopped selling tobacco products as of October 1, 2014, at its CVS/pharmacy stores. The decision had the greatest impact on customers who bought cigarettes only at CVS drugstores. Those particular customers were 38% more likely to stop buying cigarettes altogether.
To gather those numbers, the study used household purchasing data to examine American households that stopped buying cigarettes for at least six months during the period of September 2014 to August 2015. The study, written by CVS executives and paid for by the company, was a peer-reviewed article, the journal disclosed.
“When we removed tobacco from our shelves, a significant number of our customers simply stopped buying and hopefully smoking cigarettes altogether instead of just altering their cigarette purchasing habits,” Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS Health chief medical officer, said in a statement.
“This research proves that our decision had a powerful public health impact by disrupting access to cigarettes and helping more of our customers on their path to better health.”
The decision by CVS to cut off tobacco sales amounted to a loss of $2 billion in annual sales that existed when it sold cigarettes. Still, the drugstore’s overall sales have been increasing in the last three years thanks to new business from the Affordable Care Act which benefit the pharmacy. CVS is growing significantly as a medical service business.
As for its rivals, the CVS decision has not triggered a trend. None of the other stores such as Wal-Mart, Rite Aid or Walgreens Boots Alliance have followed suit with their own plans to stop selling cigarettes. The pressure from the public and some of their shareholders has not made enough of an impact to change their mind. Walgreens, for example, has instead decided to push more smoking cessation products alongside their tobacco products.
The response from customers in regards to the ban was mixed. Some commended the stand from CVS saying it was a step in the right direction. These days, smoking is banned in restaurants, schools, and even certain parks, so the move did seem to follow the ongoing trend.
On the other hands, many people were outraged at the decision. Some stated it was hypocritical because CVS continues to sell alcohol, candy, and sugary drinks, which can be equally as harmful to the health. Therefore, the argument was made that it is the choice of the customer, not CVS, to decide.
With these recent results, it is evident that CVS may have gotten the result they were hoping for. More outside studies are needed to fully determine the impact the ban had on smoking trends. Still, it sends a message loud and clear that CVS will no longer support tobacco products.
What do you think about the ban? Should other pharmacies follow? In recovery, it is important to take steps to living a healthy life. Perhaps quitting smoking is something you should consider. If you are struggling to quit smoking, or are struggling with any addiction, please call now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
CVS is stepping up to reduce the staggering number of opioid related deaths by making the anti-overdose drug Naloxone (or Narcan) easily accessible. We’ve talked how theirs a push to put the drug in the hands of school nurses and first responders.
Now, CVS will allow the opioid reversal drug Naloxone to be purchased without a prescription. This movement is not super new. Last year there was a story about how CVS started allowing Naloxone to be purchased without a prescription in Rhode Island. Now, the drug is available without a prescription in 12 states.
You can now purchase naloxone at a CVS in the following 12 states:
Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.
Over 44,000 people die from accidental overdoses every year in the United States and most of these deaths are from opioids such as pain medications and heroin. There has been a five-fold increase in the total number of heroin-related deaths from 2001 to 2013 and the numbers have continued to climb. The number of deaths can be reduced if we can get naloxone in the hands of more people.
“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,” said Tom Davis, VP of professional practices at CVS.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is heavily supporting CVS on being the first chain pharmacy in California to distribute naloxone without a prescription. Laura Thomas, California deputy director of the DPA said she was excited to see how quickly the drug has been introduced to California stores.
“The fact that just one year ago the bill was signed, and now today we’re seeing CVS stores all across California beginning to sell naloxone without a prescription is a testament to how hard many, many people worked behind the scenes to make this happen so fast.”
The bill referenced is Richard Bloom’s AB1535, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014. The bill was sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Pharmacists Association.
Advocates around the country are working to ensure that this life-saving drug is available to all who need it. The hope is that more states will follow suit. Looking at the list, I am hoping Florida will be one of them very soon!
In states with the approval, CVS will offer Naloxone to anyone experiencing an immediate need. The drug is administered either through injection or through nasal spray. Nasal spray is expected to be much more widely used. CVS pharmacists will undergo training programs to learn how to properly administer the drug. Just like a flu shots, you’ll be able to go to CVS to have the drug administered without having to get a prescription prior. Some critics do question whether the easy accessibility will give addicts an excuse to keep using however saving lives is worth the risk.
The drug Naloxone is highly effective and is capable of reducing deaths in communities as much as 50 percent when paired with proper training and distribution. However this effectiveness does not come without a price. When an overdose victim receives the drug, it has the potential to send them into a rapid and excruciating withdrawal. So it’s unlikely that a drug like this would enable abuse.
Another solution that was gaining popularity was implementing overdose antidote clinics. These clinics would freely distribute naloxone medication to anyone who may need it, including drug users themselves. The clinic would be run by volunteers of the community and would provide a safe place for concerned families and loved ones to get support.
While the clinics would be a useful resource, CVS pharmacies are everywhere. If every CVS in the country becomes able to administer Naloxone, it would be the easiest way to make the drug accessible to everyone who needs it.
A push for all pharmacies to carry the drug would decrease the amount of opioid deaths around the country. Pharmacies like Walgreens have also allowed the drug to be administered. Slowly, more pharmacies are beginning to realize the impact they could have in preventing a person from dying from an overdose. The use of Naloxone could give a drug addict a second chance at life. Perhaps it would be the wake-up call they need to finally get treatment for their addiction.
If you are struggling with addiction, please do not let your addiction take your life. Seek treatment now. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The CVS Pharmacy empire has been around for years providing medications to people across the nation, and they just recently announced that it would offer the opiate ‘antidote’ Narcan without a prescription at all of its 60 pharmacies in Rhode Island by the end of month in order to combat the growing problem with opiate addiction in the area. There is much speculation as to if this will effectively decrease the number of addicts in the area abusing opiates, but it is sure to help combat the death rate from overdose while treatment methods are developed.
What is Narcan?
Narcan (also known as naloxone) is a maintenance drug that offers immediate relief for anyone who is experiencing an overdose from an opiate drug such as heroin or even a prescription painkiller such as OxyContin or OxyCodone. If Narcan is administered in the time it takes for someone overdosing to succumb to the opiate, it can reverse an overdose by restoring the respiratory system back to normal functioning. Narcan can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection.
Friday after the initial announcement of this new policy CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis made a statement saying,
“Over half of our pharmacies are now under a collaborative agreement that allows them to dispense Narcan without a prescription. It’s part of our commitment to combat prescription drug abuse. We think it’s a great public service.”
More than a year ago the Walgreen’s pharmacy chain began a similar program, thanks to an agreement among the Board of Pharmacy, a Miriam Hospital doctor and the drugstore.
The two giants of the prescription drug industry are responding to a drastic rise in recent deaths in the Rhode Island area due to opiate drug overdoses. According to a Butler Hospital website, Rhode Island ranks among the highest in the country in illicit drug use, including the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers and per capita overdose deaths.
Fighting Overdose in Rhode Island
The collaborative agreement in this new initiative is with Dr. Josiah Rich, an infectious disease specialist at the Miriam Hospital. Dr. Rich took note of the severity of the situation.
- 90 Rhode Islanders died in the first 4 months of 2014 from accidental drug overdoses compared to the 73 drug overdoses during the same time period in the last year, meaning there has been a 23% increase.
“Here in their home state, with one of the most devastating public epidemics to hit, they are stepping up to the plate and rolling this out,” Dr. Josiah Rich said. “This is a critically important tool to prevent overdose deaths.”
The state of Rhode Island has stepped in a few ways to try and combat the opiate overdose problem in the area, some tactics include:
- In August, Butler and Kent hospitals began distributing Narcan to patients at risk of an opiate drug overdose.
- The Rhode Island State Police added Narcan to their toolbox in early May.
How It Works
DeAngelis referred to this process as a blanket prescription. Once a pharmacist completes the training program, he or she signs the agreement with Rich. When reached for comment Rich stated,
“It’s pretty straight forward. We teach people how to recognize a drug overdose, to call 911 and how to administer Narcan.”
CVS will offer those who are experiencing an immediate need for Narcan both nasal spray or the injection as means of receiving the medication. The nasal spray is expected to be much more widely used than the injection, and all CVS pharmacists are currently undergoing training programs to instruct them on how to help customers properly administer the drug according to CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis who added,
“It will be like getting a flu shot. You will be able to walk in and not need a prescription.”
Dr. Josiah Rich did however say that a single dose of Narcan may not be enough. He reported that as the Narcan wears off the individual may experience mild or severe withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, and that they would also urge anyone who experiences this problem to seek medical care beyond that of the CVS pharmacy. Rich applauded CVS for making a commitment to deal with a serious crisis in Rhode Island pertaining to opiate abuse and addiction. Some may question whether or not this will just create an excuse for addicts to keep using, knowing they have access to the medication they need in case of overdose on a whim.