No prescription needed for naloxone at Walgreens pharmacies in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's more than 120 Walgreen pharmacies join those in Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island in making the medication available to families and caregivers of opioid users.
Naloxone reverses the effects of a heroin or other opioid overdose. It is available as an injection or nasal spray. Drug overdoses are an ongoing crisis, with 47,055 overdose deaths reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2014. Those deaths include both illegal and prescription drugs.
“By making naloxone available without a prescription, we are making it easier for Pennsylvania families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it’s needed,” Walgreens Regional Vice President Kimberly Treece said. “As a pharmacy we are here to help people, and we are committed to making naloxone more accessible in the communities we serve.”
Walgreens has committed to providing naloxone without a prescription in 35 states and Washington, D.C. It is implementing the new policy state-by-state. When complete, naloxone will be available in 5,800 Walgreens pharmacies.
"I applaud Walgreens for taking this step. Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that can save the life of someone suffering addiction and an overdose from a prescription painkiller or heroin,” Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The medication gives the patient the opportunity to get the treatment that they need. The disease of addiction is complex and the state's response requires all hands on deck, including our partners in the community, like Walgreens pharmacy."