- Kits to be sold without prescription at all pharmacies in Ohio.
- Ohio-based CVS pharmacies join those in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin in dispensing naloxone kits without a prescription.
- Rates of opioid-related overdose deaths increased 14% from 2013 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics.
- During 2014, 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, representing an increase of 6.5% over the previous year, according to CDC statistics.
CVS Health Corporation has announced that it will make naloxone kits (Figure 1) available without a prescription at all its pharmacies across Ohio, a state with one of the highest rates of overdose-related deaths. The program was initiated on February 1, 2016. (See the MDalert.com article on naloxone kits here.)
“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,” Tom Davis, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS, said in a statement. “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.”
Ohio-based CVS pharmacies join those in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. However, the company is now also selling the drug without a prescription in dispensing naloxone kits without a prescription.
“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,” Mr. Davis noted.
The Overdose Epidemic
According to a report from the CDC, between 1996 and mid-2014, non-healthcare professionals reported using a naloxone kits in 26,463 overdose reversals. In 2013, non-healthcare professionals reported reversing overdose with naloxone in 8,032 cases.
“The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose (poisoning) deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin)” according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). CDC analyzed recent multiple cause-of-death mortality data to examine current trends and characteristics of drug overdose deaths, including the types of opioids associated with drug overdose deaths.
“During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, representing a 1-year increase of 6.5%, from 13.8 per 100,000 persons in 2013 to 14.7 per 100,000 persons in 2014. The rate of drug overdose deaths increased significantly for both sexes, persons aged 25–44 years and ≥55 years, non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, and in the Northeastern, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the United States. Rates of opioid overdose deaths also increased significantly, from 7.9 per 100,000 in 2013 to 9.0 per 100,000 in 2014, a 14% increase,” according to MMWR.