Big news hit recently when CVS drug store became the first pharmacy to announce that they were going to be offering naloxone for sale without a prescription. The opioid overdose problem has gotten so bad that this life-saving drug is now available direct to consumers in some areas.
Kroger, one of the nation’s largest supermarket chains, also just announced that they would be making naloxone available to the general public through its pharmacies as well. “This marks an important step in our fight to combat addiction and we all need to continue to work for a bottom-up, comprehensive approach to the heroin epidemic,” said U.S. Senator Rob Portman, (R) OH.
While the drug isn’t available over the counter everywhere yet, states like Ohio and Kentucky, where the per capita opioid overdose rates are even higher, have been more eager to act on providing additional palliative measures for the epidemic. Legislators, law enforcement officials and other community leaders are coming together to try and address the problem from multiple sides.
While making naloxone available over the counter directly to the public will certainly help save many lives from overdose, it is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amount of action and effort needed to reverse the opiate abuse trend throughout the United States. Yes, each bit helps, but perhaps investing in more treatment infrastructure will make the most sense long term in addition to amped up prevention programs.
Nonetheless, having tens of thousands of people die each year from an overdose on heroin or prescription painkillers is unacceptable, and it will take more forward thinkers to develop other initiatives to made headway against this scourge.