In every CVS Pharmacy location across the state of Nevada, naloxone will now be available to patrons – no prescription required. This is a great step in helping to make sure that families who have loved ones struggling with addiction will have access to this potentially life-saving medication.
Tom Davis, RPh, is the Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Pharmacy. In a statement, he said: “Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our Nevada pharmacies by the use of a physician’s standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives. We are dedicated to helping the communities we serve address and prevent drug abuse and we are expanding access to naloxone to give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery.”
The aid that the pharmacy chain has provided to communities across Nevada doesn’t stop there. The stores are also working together with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to implement the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program. This program provides a “no questions asked” safe drop-off point for unwanted and unused over-the-counter and prescription medications, creating a safer home for kids and people struggling with addiction.
NaloxoneNaloxone is a medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose caused by use of opiate drugs. When administered in a timely manner, the drug can be effective in saving the life of the individual. While this is a huge benefit, and access to the drug is a high priority in the fight against opiate addiction and unnecessary overdose deaths, there are some drawbacks to the drug as well.
Here’s what you need to know.
- Friends and family members can feel empowered to help their loved one in the midst of crisis if they have a dose of naloxone on hand.
- First responders will have the correct tools to effectively handle an emergency call.
- Individuals who are “brought back” have the opportunity to take advantage of their second chance and connect with treatment to heal.
- Naloxone cannot reverse overdose caused by use of any drug that is not an opiate. So if someone took an opiate drug and a stimulant drug, and the stimulant drug causes a medical emergency, naloxone will be ineffective.
- If naloxone is not administered in time, it cannot be effective. If the respiratory system or heart has been stopped for too long, naloxone will not restart it.
- In someone who is physically dependent on opiate drugs, naloxone may trigger immediate withdrawal symptoms that can be uncomfortable. The response of the individual may be to take more opiates to quell those symptoms. However, naloxone has a shorter half-life than opiate drugs, and if someone takes more opiates after the reversal, they risk overdosing again.
- Naloxone is not a treatment for addiction. A reversed overdose offers a second chance at life, but intensive psychological and medical treatment is needed for healing.
Safe Drop-off Locations for Medications
Many experts say that unused and unwanted medications in the home can be at the root of a long-term addiction. Some who do not understand the potent nature of the drugs may take prescription painkillers for a headache or to manage stress. If this choice is coupled with the choice to drink alcohol or take other medications, it can lead to an inadvertent overdose. If it is a choice that is repeated over time and becomes a coping mechanism, it can lead to an addiction. For young people, it can open up the door to regular drug use, causing overdose, accident under the influence, or a lifetime of substance abuse issues.
The best way to manage the problem is to get the medications out of the home. Because it is not safe to simply throw them in the trash, contaminating landfills and groundwater, a safe drop location like the ones provided by CVS Pharmacy makes it easier for people to safely get rid of all unwanted medications – whether they are expired, addictive, and/or unwanted.