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CVS to Offer Narcan in NY Without Prescription

By FOX 40 Staff.
The New York State Department of Health has partnered with CVS/Pharmacy to make an overdose-reversing drug available without a prescription.

On Thursday, the New York State Department of Health announced an agreement with CVS that will help prevent opioid overdose deaths in New York State. This agreement authorizes 479 CVS locations across the State to provide naloxone, commonly known as Narcan®, without a prescription. Pharmacists are currently receiving training and ordering naloxone for their stores. Naloxone is a medication which reverses opioid overdose.

Traditionally administered by emergency medical or hospital personnel, naloxone can be administered by laypeople with minimal training. CVS pharmacists are now able to provide this training in addition to dispensing the naloxone to customers.

When administered either through injection or by nasal spray, naloxone temporarily blocks the effects of opioids allowing a stricken individual to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing. These potentially life-threatening opioids include medicines prescribed to address pain as well as illicit drugs such as heroin.

All individuals on whom naloxone is administered should still go to the hospital with EMS personnel. Naloxone is effective in blocking the effects of an opioid for between 30 and 90 minutes. When the naloxone has worn off, someone may slip back into a life-threatening overdose.

“Naloxone is a proven life-saver that counteracts the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally.” Said State Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker. “This agreement with CVS/pharmacy will help to save lives and hopefully get people on the road to recovery.”

Naloxone poses no danger to persons who otherwise might come into contact with it, and it has no potential for being abused. It only works if a person has opioids in their system; the medication has no effect if opioids are absent.