The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that expanded naloxone access could save more than 20,000 lives per year in the United States. It is estimated that the drug saved 10,000 lives between 2006 and 2010.
In a number of states and cities across the country, naloxone can now be acquired without a prescription. This means that both opioid users and their families can purchase the drug with little effort, and more lives will be saved. CVS pharmacies in 13 states are preparing to offer naloxone over the counter, EMS 1 reports. With the rise in heroin use across the country, a byproduct of the prescription opioid epidemic, the likelihood of overdose rates increasing is great.
"Over 44,000 people die from accidental drug overdoses every year in the United States and most of those deaths are from opioids, including controlled substance pain medication and illegal drugs such as heroin." said Tom Davis, vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS/pharmacy. "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."
The states where naloxone will be offered over the counter include:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
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