Recovery advocates praise Walgreens for offering overdose drug but still have concerns
Walgreens will sell Naloxone in 39 states and Washington D.C. without a prescription.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A drug used to reverse the effects of a Heroin overdose will soon be sold without a prescription at Walgreens pharmacies.
While recovery advocates are pleased with the announcement, many have concerns that consumers will not receive the proper education and training when purchasing the drug.
Kentucky is rated by the Centers for Disease Control as one of the top ten states with the most overdose deaths per year. It's a rating that proves the heroin drug epidemic is not going away anytime soon.
Recovery advocates like Jennifer Punkin-Stepp are now praising Walgreens for selling the overdose reversal drug, Naloxone, without a prescription.
“Accessibility to this medication is a giant step in the fight against the drug epidemic,” Punkin-Stepp said.
It will be sold in 39 states including Kentucky and Indiana. However officials with the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition worry that people who buy the drug will not be educated. Will they be able to recognize an overdose? Will they know how to respond? And will they know how to correctly reverse an overdose?
“We are just going to have to get together in our communities to get people the training and get them to understand that there's more to it,” Punkin-Stepp said.
Current training sessions teach people that CPR must be performed with Naloxone to prevent brain damage. Most people also need two doses of the drug in case the Naloxone wears off and the person re-overdoses.
“I think the pharmacist will know that. But will they go over it every time?” Punkin-Stepp asked.
Kroger has also announced it will sell the overdose reversal drug at its Pharmacies in Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
While the drug has been known to save lives, Punkin-Stepp says opponents are already against the Walgreens move.
“Their stand on it was how many times do you continue to save someone's life when they just keep going out and overdosing. I'm like well.... you don't question someone before you administer CPR for someone who had a heart attack. You just do it,” she said.
Walgreens will roll out the drug state by state this year. Naloxone will be available in Indiana by the end of the month, no word yet on when it will be available in Kentucky.
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