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In an announcement, drug store chain Walgreens said that it is going to make heroin overdose antidote naloxone accessible without a prescription.
The company is going to launch a strategy program to fight prescription drug abuse by selling the antidote without requiring a prescription in its pharmacies across 35 states in over 5,800 stores.
These days, deaths related to heroin overdose have gone up at a quite fast pace due to the opioid epidemic growth. Though some people might know about the existence of an antidote that could reverse the addicting drug’s effects, they would require prescriptions to get it in pharmacies throughout the United States.
Health officials and pharmaceutical companies have been taking initiatives to avoid deaths linked to heroin overdose. On the other side, Walgreens has made an announcement that it has decided to join the battle against prescription drug abuse with two latest programs.
Firstly, it will make naloxone available without requiring any prescription and second is going to install 24 hours safe medication disposal kiosks in over 500 drugstores throughout 39 states and Washington.
Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of pharmacy and retail operations, said, “Walgreens pharmacists play an important role in counseling patients on the safe use of their medications, and now we are leading the way in retail pharmacy’s fight against prescription drug abuse”.
According to the estimations of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.5 million Americans misused a prescription drug in 2014. Most of them did it by giving it or receiving it a family member or near one.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths due to heroin overdose have been on rise since 2007. In 2014, heroin deaths surpassed 10,500, over five times the rate occurring in 2002.