Walgreens Will Start Stocking Narcan, A Drug That Reverses Opioid Overdoses
The drug will be available without a prescription.
Walgreens has announced that they'll start stocking Narcan, an over-the-counter drug that treats opioid overdoses, at every one of their locations nationwide. By making this medication so readily available, Walgreens is making a huge statement about how problematic the opioid epidemic really is in America. (Related: CVS Says It Will Stop Filling Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers with More Than a 7-Day Supply)
"By stocking Narcan in all our pharmacies, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it is needed," Walgreens vice president Rick Gates said in a statement.
Several emergency responders across America carry Narcan and have been selling it directly to drug users and their families for years. If administered soon enough, the nasal spray has the power to save someone's life if they've overdosed on any range of opioids-prescription painkillers and heroin included. (Related: Are Opioids Really Necessary After a C-Section?)
For the past two decades, the consumption of opioids has skyrocketed in America. According to the National Institutes of Health, the use of heroin alone has quadrupled since 1999, which has contributed to an average of 91 opioid deaths a day.
Walgreens says that they will make Narcan available without a prescription in the 45 states that allow it, and that it's working with the rest to make it more accessible. They also plan to educate their customers on how to use the nasal spray, while stressing that it's not a substitute for seeking proper medical care.
This move by the drug company comes right on the heels of President Donald Trump declaring the opioid epidemic a national health emergency. He referred to the crisis as a "national shame"-one that he's sure the U.S. will "overcome," according to CNN.
It's important to remember that addiction does not discriminate. (Take this woman who took painkillers for her basketball injury and spiraled into a heroin addiction.) That's why it's crucial that you educate yourself and keep a close eye out for family and friends who might be suffering behind closed doors. (Watch for these common drug abuse warning signs.)