CVS Health announced it has expanded access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Missouri and West Virginia, allowing CVS Pharmacy patients to access the medication without an individual prescription. In total, CVS Pharmacy patients in 36 states now have increased access to the life-saving opioid overdose-reversal drug. CVS Health’s naloxone program establishes a standing order with a physician in the state or utilizes pharmacists’ prescriptive authority to permit CVS Pharmacists to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription. Pharmacists in these five states began dispensing the medication this week.
“Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdose and by expanding availability of this medication, we can save lives and give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery,” said Tom Davis, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Pharmacy. “By establishing a physician-authorized standing order that allows our pharmacies to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription, we strengthen our commitment to helping the communities we serve begin to address the challenges of prescription drug abuse.”
“Expanding access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone is a critical part of our national strategy to stop the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic—along with effective prevention, treatment, and enforcement,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “Thanks to efforts on naloxone like those announced today by CVS Health, more Americans will have access to this lifesaving drug.”
The move to expand access to naloxone builds on CVS Health’s longstanding commitment to help communities address and prevent drug abuse through education, outreach and safe medication disposal. CVS Health’s commitment to drug abuse prevention education extends from online resources launched for patients visiting CVS.com to two robust youth prevention programs. Launched last year, CVS Health’s Pharmacists Teach program gives its pharmacists the opportunity to volunteer to speak to high school health classes about the dangers of drug abuse. More than 100,000 students have already been part of the program. Recently, the company also announced a partnership with DoSomething.org to create a peer-to-peer prevention and intervention program delivered to young people via text message and online.
CVS Health has also joined with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to create the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, which has donated more than 600 drug disposal units to police departments around the country. The program gives members of the community a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted medication and has already collected more than 47 metric tons of prescription drugs.
“CVS Health has been a leader in the work of helping communities prevent prescription drug abuse,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “In addition to proper disposal of unwanted medication, increasing access to naloxone is a critical public health priority that allows patients and their families to prevent opioid fatalities and recognize when people need help working towards recovery from the disease of addiction.”
With the addition of the five new states where CVS Pharmacy locations began dispensing naloxone to patients without a prescription this week, CVS Pharmacy locations in the following 36 states now offer naloxone: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas,California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota,Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio,Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. CVS Health also plans to further expand its naloxone program to other states in the coming months.