DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of Walgreens comprehensive national plan to combat drug abuse, Walgreens today announced it has made naloxone, a potentially lifesaving opioid antidote, available without a prescription in all of its Indiana pharmacies in accordance with state pharmacy regulations.
Naloxone is now more accessible and easier to obtain in nearly 200 Walgreens pharmacies throughout Indiana. The medication can be used in the event of an overdose to reverse the effects of heroin or other opioid drugs, and is administered by injection or nasal spray.
“By making naloxone available without a prescription, we are making it easier for Indiana families and caregivers to help their loved ones in need,” said Chris Creamer, Walgreens Regional Healthcare Director in Indiana. “We are committed to making naloxone more accessible in the communities we serve.”
Earlier this month, Walgreens announced plans to make naloxone available without a prescription in 35 states and Washington D.C. in accordance with each state’s pharmacy regulations. In states where a prescription is required, Walgreens is available and eager to work with regulators to help update rules to allow for dispensing of naloxone without a prescription.
The medication is available in Rhode Island and Massachusetts without a prescription in accordance with state regulations. Walgreens began expanding the program earlier this month at Walgreens pharmacies throughout the state of New York, and has now expanded that access to Indiana and Ohio. When implementation of the program is complete, naloxone will be available without a prescription in more than 5,800 of Walgreens nearly 8,200 stores.
“We need all hands on deck to stop the unrelenting wave of opioid drug and heroin overdose deaths,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, creator and co-chair of the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force. “I’m particularly grateful Walgreens has stepped up to keep naloxone stocked in its stores, available for loved ones and others who may be in a position to save the life of someone struggling with addiction. Walgreens rollout of safe medication disposal kiosks is also key to encouraging people to clear out medicine cabinets and changing the perception that these powerful painkillers and other opioids are safe.”
When naloxone is dispensed instructions are provided on how to administer the medication, which includes calling 911 as naloxone is not a substitute for medical care, and anyone who is administered the medication should seek immediate medical attention.
Drug abuse continues to be a public health and safety risk. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths, which include prescription and illicit drugs. That is a 6.5 percent increase from 2013 and a 140 percent increase since 2000.
Walgreens also will be installing safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 pharmacies in 39 states, including Indiana. The medication disposal kiosks allow individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications, at no cost. The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies will be available during regular pharmacy hours (24 hours a day at most of these locations) and will offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else. The initial installation of the safe medication disposal kiosks has begun in California and is expected to be completed at more than 500 Walgreens locations this year.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,173 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Walgreens also manages more than 400 Healthcare Clinic and provider practice locations around the country.