CVS Health, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Health and Human Resources Secretary William Hazel and Public Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Brian Moran joined forces yesterday in the fight against opioid abuse.
Together, they emphasized the importance of the overdose-reversal medication naloxone in preventing opioid deaths in the Old Dominion.
"Drug overdose is the Number One cause of unnatural death in Virginia, and it has been for the past three years," Gov. McAuliffe said. "It takes the lives of more Virginians than motor vehicle accidents or firearms. Preliminary numbers indicate that about 1,000 Virginians died of drug overdose last year, including more than 500 from prescription opioids and 300 from heroin. So we know that this particular class of narcotic, which includes both prescription and illegal drugs, is the primary killer that we must confront if we are going to end this epidemic. CVS Health's decision to make naloxone available without a prescription at all of its Virginia locations is a welcome and important step that will save lives here in Virginia."
Naloxone is now available without a prescription in all CVS Pharmacies in Virginia, as well as 22 other states across the nation. By making the medicine readably available, family members and friends of addicted individuals can keep it on hand, ready for emergency treatment of an accidental overdose while waiting for first responders to arrive. Naloxone is available in injectable and nose spray formulations.
"Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our Virginia pharmacies by the use of a physician's standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives," CVS Pharmacy VP of Pharmacy Professional Practices Tom Davis said. "We support expanding naloxone availability to give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery and we applaud Gov. McAuliffe and the State of Virginia for their leadership in the fight against drug abuse and addiction."