COLUMBUS (WCMH)–The life-saving drug naloxone (Narcan) will no longer require a prescription at Ohio CVS locations starting next month. The drug has been used by first responders to revive heroin or opiate overdose victims. Loved ones of heroin users previously had to obtain a prescription from a doctor.
AIDS Resource Center Ohio was one of the first central Ohio pharmacies to sell the drug without a prescription. They have sold more than 80 doses since September of 2015.
AIDS Resource Center Ohio Chief Operating Officer Peggy Anderson says, “If we lose them to an overdose then we have lost an opportunity to have a productive life in the future.”
Naloxone has offered a second chance for many.
Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long explains, “We know this is a daily thing. Maybe 6, 7, 8 times a day our Columbus EMS are administering that and that’s only if they get there and get to the place at the right time.”
More than 15,000 doses of naloxone, also known as Narcan, was given by EMS responders statewide in 2014.
The move by pharmacies like ARC Ohio and CVS makes it easier for family members and friends to purchase the drug.
“It is usually family members,” Anderson added, “because they have a family member who has overdosed or they are really scared that someone will.”
ARC Ohio has sold about 80 doses of the life-saving drug so far. Each time the pharmacist must talk with the customer and explain how and when to use the drug. These similar steps will likely be implemented by CVS.
“We’ve had parents who have lost their kids to an overdose saying they wish they had known or they wish they had access,” Anderson said
More people will now have access without a prescription needed as Ohio continues to battle a heroin epidemic.
“I would look at the availability of naloxone as an opportunity to save a life,” Long said. “It’s also an opportunity to move people along that spectrum of getting treatment for what is a very serious, chronic, lapsing disease of addiction.”