CVS Health announced on Monday that it will be making naloxone available without a prescription across all of its pharmacy locations in Ohio starting late March.
Opioid overdose remains to be a big problem for the United States so greater access to the overdose reversal drug is seen as an important step toward saving lives. Tom Davis, CVS Pharmacy's Pharmacy Professional Practices vice president, said the company supports the expansion of naloxone availability, applauding Ohio for actively taking part in fighting drug abuse and addiction.
According to Michael Botticelli, the White House National Drug Control Policy director, the announcement builds upon the commitment that CVS Health made when President Barack Obama revealed private and public sector actions geared toward addressing drug abuse. Increasing access to naloxone is a crucial part of the administration's national plan to put a stop to opioid addiction and overdose.
By making naloxone more accessible in Ohio, more of its residents will have a life-saving tool they can use on someone they care about who is addicted to opiates. A lot of first responders already carry the drug but spreading its reach could speed up the rate at which someone experiencing an overdose can get the help they need.
It's easy for Ohioans to get opioids so the same, if not better, level of access should be afforded to life-saving medication, said Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, adding that every resource available must be used to not just treat but also prevent addiction to save more lives throughout the state.
Aside from making naloxone available without a prescription, CVS Health has also teamed up with Ohio's law enforcement agencies to provide local communities with drug collection units so unwanted medications and controlled substances can be safely disposed of. This has resulted in over 4,000 pounds of unwanted medication being collected from more than 20 drug disposal units across the state since September 2014. Nationwide, over 28 metric tons of unwanted medications have been collected.
Alongside Ohio, Wisconsin, Utah, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Montana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Indiana, California and Arkansas are also offering access to naloxone without a prescription.
Photo: Governor Tom Wolf | Flickr