Treatment group says Nalaxone availability a step in right direction

Published 10:17 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

A local treatment group has responded positively to the decision by CVS to offer the opioid overdose reversal medicine naloxone at all of the company’s pharmacy stores in Ohio.

Nalaxone, which is administered during an overdose, blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing.

Amy Albrecht, CEO of The Counseling Center, Inc., said the move by the pharmacy chain to carry the medicine could save lives.

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“The new plan to dispense Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, through a nationwide pharmacy chain as big as CVS means there will be less barriers and more open access to families and high risk individuals,” she said. “It has the potential to save lives, and it is a step in the right direction for the health and safety of our community. The more we work together as a community to address addiction as a health care issue, the closer we are to looking at a variety of solutions that work together to save lives and rebuild families.”

CVS Health made the announcement, along with White House National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp at a press conference in Toledo on last week.

“Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our Ohio pharmacies by the use of a physician’s standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives,” Tom Davis, the vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS, said in a news release. “We support expanding naloxone availability and we applaud the State of Ohio for its leadership in the fight against drug abuse and addiction.”

CVS Health said they are also providing an opportunity for law enforcement agencies in Ohio to apply to receive a drug collection unit to help communities dispose of unwanted medications.

Southern Ohio has been hit particularly hard by the opiate crisis, with the rate of use being among the highest in the state.