Tag Archives: painkiller

CVS Pharmacy to Offer Naloxone Without a Prescription in Multiple States

nalxIt appears that CVS pharmacy chain is continuing to trail blaze in its commitment to advocating for better health conditions in the United States. They recently took a giant step by announcing that they were going to stop selling cigarettes in their stores, and now they have just announced that they are expanding their offering of the life-saving drug naloxone.

Naloxone is typically only available by prescription, but CVS is making it accessible to consumers without a prescription in 15 states, including Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

With the drastic increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States tied to drugs like narcotic painkillers and heroin, many officials throughout different parts of the country have advocated for making naloxone more available to people to help prevent casualties.

“Over 44,000 people die from accidental drug overdoses every year in the United States and most of those deaths are from opioids, including controlled substance pain medication and illegal drugs such as heroin. Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by providing access to this medication in our pharmacies without a prescription in more states, we can help save lives,” said Tom Davis, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS/pharmacy. “While all 7,800 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide can continue to order and dispense naloxone when a prescription is presented, we support expanding naloxone availability without a prescription and are reviewing opportunities to do so in other states.”

The pharmacy chain has also expanded its support of prescription drug take-back programs by providing more collection kits to local law enforcement and assisting in DEA-sponsored events.

Emergency Departments Have Contributed to Increase In Opiate Use

Researchers from the George Washington University School of Medicine recently found that the the number of emergency room visits resulting in a prescription for painkiller rose nearly 50 percent between 2001 and 2010. This has been one of the many contributing factors to the overall rise in prescription drug abuse throughout the country.

Published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, the results showed that the total number of such ER visits went from 21 percent up to 31 percent during the decade. Part of those statistics include the increase of Schedule II narcotics that nearly doubled, from 7.6% to 14.5%.

Despite these hefty increases, the percentage of patients reporting for painful conditions only increased by a modest 4%. Part of the reason for the sharp rise in narcotic painkillers was believed to involve a concern for greater patient satisfaction, indicating that fulfilling their wishes may have taken a front seat to doing what’s best for their conditions in some cases.

Dr. Ryan Stanton, spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), told HealthDay that, “In many cases, naproxen, Tylenol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen are the best choices.”

Unfortunately these statistics are a reflection of the overall scene when it comes to trying to treat pain, keep patients satisfied and find quick fixes when dealing with a large volume of patients. Hopefully more treatments can be used that aren’t as potentially addictive, yet still provide relief to those who are in need. Either way, our country must continue to find ways to cut back our overwhelming dependency on painkillers.