ARH Retail Pharmacies Now Offering Narcotic Overdose Medication Naloxone Without A Prescription

5/11/2017

The opioid abuse epidemic in the United States continues to grow, and the areas served by Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) are among the top in the nation for the number of opioid overdose-related deaths.

In an effort to help prevent these deaths, ARH retail pharmacies throughout eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia are now offering the medication Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, without a prescription to those who take opioid medications, family members and friends of those taking opioids, and first responders.  Naloxone (Narcan®) can reverse the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose when given in a timely manner and can easily be administered by trained lay persons. Naloxone can be given nasally or by a shot into a muscle. All ARH retail pharmacists have completed the training required to dispense Naloxone. 

Those commonly at risk for opioid overdose include those who:

  • Take prescription opioids or opioids purchased on the street
  • Take opioids together with medications, alcohol, or other substances that cause sleepiness
  • Have medical conditions such as asthma, COPD, liver disease, or depression
  • Have opioid dependence, especially after a time period without taking opioids (such as a stay in a hospital, treatment center, or jail)

 ARH’s efforts are in line with the multifaceted, collaborative public health initiatives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended be developed to address this epidemic, says Bart Francis, MD, Emergency Department  Director at the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, and the physician who will sign orders and monitor the use of the Naloxone. 

Currently, 47 states have enacted Opioid Antagonist Access laws to increase public access to the medication Naloxone.  The majority of states have also enacted Good Samaritan laws to provide legal immunity to medical professionals and lay persons who dispense or administer Naloxone when acting in good faith to save a life. 

“Drug abuse and overdose knows no social or economic boundary.  It affects all families and those addicted deserve every chance to get on the right path,” Dr Francis says. “We must stop having to bury our loved ones and Naloxone is instrumental in this effort.”

Dr. Francis says those receiving Naloxone will first be educated about opioids, overdose risk factors, prevention, symptoms, and treatment, the importance of calling emergency personnel, and how to use Naloxone.

In addition to dispensing Naloxone, ARH pharmacies will work with local first responders, schools, and other community organizations to increase access to Naloxone throughout the region.

Most insurance plans will cover some type of Naloxone.

For more information contact an ARH Retail Pharmacy location near you. Visit www.arh.org for a complete list of pharmacy locations.


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