NewsHealth / February 23, 2016

Walgreens Offers Opioid Overdose Drug Without Prescription

Walgreens Monday announced it will offer over-the-counter distribution of the opioid overdose drug naloxone in all its stores in Indiana and Ohio. - file photo

Walgreens Monday announced it will offer over-the-counter distribution of the opioid overdose drug naloxone in all its stores in Indiana and Ohio.

file photo

BLOOMINGTON -- Walgreens Monday announced it will offer over-the-counter distribution of the opioid overdose drug naloxone in all its stores in Indiana and Ohio.

Naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and allows time to seek medical attention.

Heroin overdoses have been increasing in Indiana. The Indiana State Department of Health links opioid overdoses to over 1,000 deaths in 2014.

Earlier this month, Walgreens made a commitment to provide naloxone without a prescription in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

“Paramedics, emergency departments have had this stocked for years,” says Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso. “Now we’re making it just more easily accessible for people in Indiana, Ohio and working on the rest of the country to have access to it.”

Walgreens says pharmacists will provide customers instructions on how to administer the medication when they purchase it.

Nearly 200 Walgreens across Indiana now sell naloxone in both a nasal and injection form without a prescription.

Caruso says most insurance plans cover the purchase of the medication.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has recently advocated for broader access to the drug. Earlier this year, he granted $127,000 to counties in south central Indiana to train and equip law enforcement officers with naloxone.

“I think the key now is to recognize we’re in crisis mode,” Zoeller said in January. “Quite frankly, we’re just trying to save lives at this point.”

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