Hy-Vee Pharmacies take part in putting an end to the national opioid epidemic that claims lives of thousands of Americans each year.

In an official press release on Friday, Jan. 4, Hy-Vee, Inc. announced to the public that the company has changed prescription policies in a bid to help stop opioid abuse in the United States.

Opioid Epidemic In The US

Kristin Williams, the company's senior vice president and chief health officer for Hy-Vee, cited that more than 100 Americans die every day from substance abuse. Williams said Hy-Vee is taking some actions to assist fight this public health crisis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2017, more than 47,000 deaths were due to opioid abuse, the highest number ever recorded in a given year. Almost 50 percent of opioid overdose deaths have to do with a prescription opioid.

New Prescription Opioid Policies

Effective Jan. 1, Hy-Vee pharmacies are implementing new policies that will control substance prescription across eight states. Hy-Vee runs pharmacies in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Hy-Vee pharmacies now disallow requests for another fill of a Schedule II controlled substance or a refill of a Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled substance less than 72 hours after purchase without authorization from the prescriber.

"Implementing this 72-hour policy is one more step toward combatting the opioid epidemic in communities throughout the eight states we serve," Williams said.

Hy-Vee is not any more accepting GoodRx coupons for controlled substance prescriptions either.

Naloxone As Medication

Hy-Vee pharmacies are selling naloxone, in the form of nasal spray or injection, without the need for a prescription. Naloxone is a medication that blocks the effects of opioids. It is administered to people who have overdosed on a wide variety of opioids including morphine and heroin.

This medication is accessible behind the counter. The price differs based on the form purchased and whether it is paid in cash or through insurance.

Naloxone is not a cure for opioid overdose and it does not have an effect on a person who has not taken opioids. However, it can help to immediately reverse the effects of opioid drugs on the brain and respiratory system of the patient until medical attention becomes available.

 Pharmacists at Hy-Vee, Inc. also exert efforts to provide the information that helps patients and their families identify signs of opioid overdose and properly administer naloxone.

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