CVS To Expand Heroin Overdose Intervention Availability In July


IFIn just a few short months, CVS Pharmacies will make the landmark heroin overdose intervention naloxone available without a prescription; at least, in Florida and six other states. Indeed, CVS Health is expanding its naloxone program across seven states—Florida (in early July); Colorado, Oregon, and Idaho (in mid-July), and Washington state (in early August).

“Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opiod overdose and by expanding availability of this medication, we can save lives,” expressed Tom Davis, who is the vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS.

Naloxone, of course, can save a life during the potentially fatal overdose of heroin if it is administered in time, according to a thorough study published in the American Journal of Public Health, in April.

Davis continues, “By establishing a physician-authorized standing order that allows our pharmacies to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription, we strengthen our commitment to helping the communities we serve begin to address the challenges of prescription drug abuse.”

This continues to build on the availability of the treatment, which is currently available without a prescription at CVS Pharmacies in 23 states. This includes: Arkansas, Virginia, Wisconsin, California, Kentucky, Mississippi, New York, Connecticut, North Dakota, Utah, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Vermont, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.

“Expanding access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone is a critical part of our national strategy to stop the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic – along with effective prevention, treatment, and enforcement,” comments Michael Botticelli, who is the Director of National Drug Control Policy. “Thanks to efforts on naloxone like those announced today by CVS Health, more Americans will have access to this lifesaving drug.”

And current data suggests this drug could indeed save many lives. Currently, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue team is the largest local user of the drug (in Florida). They have administered the intervention nearly 1,400 times between April 2015 and April 2016. Furthermore, their data says that naloxone use is growing at a weekly rate of 30 to 47 doses.

Finally, Davis also adds: “By expanding availability of this medication, we can save lives and give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery.”

Both forms of the generic naloxone drug will be available at CVS. One two-dose package of the simple nasal spray will cost about $100 and the injectible version will cost only about $45 for two doses.