Company plans drug disposal drop-off kiosks in many locations as well.
Walgreeen’s, in announcing a new plan to combat prescription drug overdose, has said it plans to make the heroin overdose drug, naloxone, available without a prescription in states where is legal and to work with other state’s drug regulators to launch the program nationwide.
A story on UPI says the drug is now available in company drug stores in New York and the firm plans to introduce the program in Indiana and Ohio later in the month. Naloxone is a opioid antidote drug that can reverse the effect of an overdose of heroin or other opioids, and is available in a nasal spray or can be injected.
The company hopes to implement the program nationwide, making the drug available in some 5,800 of its almost 8,200 outlets across the country. The move coincides with President Obama’s proposal of adding $1.1 billion to the fight against the abuse of prescription drugs and heroin, which is becoming a national crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures from 2004 indicate 28,648 people died from overdoses of prescription drugs and heroin during that year. The agency also noted an increase in deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, in its report, prompting the President’s reaction.
The Illinois-based Walgreen’s plans to kick off their fight against prescription drug abuse by installing medication disposal kiosks in over 500 of the company’s drug stores in 39 states and Washington, DC. Most will be located in the company’s 24-hour locations, and the hope is the kiosks will make disposal of drugs easier and more convenient, and may lead to fewer overdose deaths and deaths by misuse of the drugs.
Richard Ashworth, Walgreen’s president of pharmacy and retail operations said in a statement the company’s pharmacists play an important role in counseling patients on the safe use of their medication, and added the company is now leading the way in retail pharmacy’s fight against prescription drug abuse.
Ashworth continued by saying when the stakes are this high, the solutions must be comprehensive, and Walgreen’s stands ready to help their patients and customers lead healthier lives.