CVS pharmacies in Virginia will now offer drug overdose-reversal medication naloxone (commonly known as Narcan), the company and the state’s governor Terry McAuliffe announced on May 11.
The medication, which can potentially save lives, will be available in CVS stores across Virginia without a prescription.
“Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our Virginia pharmacies by the use of a physician’s standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives,” said Tom Davis, RPh, vice president of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Pharmacy.
Davis also commended Virginia for fighting against drug abuse and addiction by now offering the medication.
“Drug overdose is the number one cause of unnatural death in Virginia, and it has been for the past three years,” said Gov. McAuliffe.
He also said drug overdoses kill more Virginians than motor vehicle accidents or firearms. About 1,000 residents of Virginia died of a drug overdose last year—more than 500 of the cases involved prescription opioids and 300 from heroin. McAuliffe said he welcomed the step by CVS to save peoples’ lives in his state.
“So we know that this particular class of narcotic, which includes both prescription and illegal drugs, is the primary killer that we must confront if we are going to end this epidemic,” said the governor.
“Prescription opioid and heroin overdoses are killing our citizens, and we need to use every tool we can to fight that epidemic,” said William Hazel, secretary for Virginia’s Health and Human Resources.
“But having a drug like naloxone that can reverse a potentially fatal overdose is, quite literally, a life-saver. The more available it is, the more lives can be saved,” he added.
Emergency responders are allowed to carry the life-saving drug, but Homeland Security Brian Moran says allowing ordinary citizens to have access to the medication can save more lives.
“We allow and encourage our first responders to carry this life-saving drug, and to know how to use it,” said Secretary Moran.
“But families and friends of people with addiction are often the actual first people to encounter a person who has overdosed. Making naloxone more easily available to them at drugstores like CVS is one step toward saving a life.”
CVS also launched new digital resources on their website to help people learn more about drug abuse prevention.
The company announced CVS pharmacies in 22 other states besides Virginia can dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription.
How to Administer Narcan Nasal Spray
Below is a video put together by the Boston Herald. Sarah Mackin, a program manager at the Boston Public Health Commission, explains the signs of someone who has taken an overdose and how to administer the Narcan nasal spray to hopefully save a life.