Ralphs Supermarket Pharmacies to Offer Life-Saving Overdose Antidote Without a Prescription

Ralphs Grocery Company is making the medicine used to reverse the effects of a drug overdose available without a prescription in its in-store pharmacies across Southern California.

PRESS RELEASE

LOS ANGELES, CA — (December 15, 2015) – Ralphs Grocery Company is reinforcing its commitment to make our communities safer by making the medicine used to reverse the effects of a drug overdose available without a prescription in its in-store pharmacies across Southern California.

Ralphs recently announced it was making the opioid overdose reversal medicine, naloxone hydrochloride, available without a prescription in each of its in-store pharmacy locations in Southern California.

The medicine is used to reverse overdoses from heroin and other opioids, which can cause a person’s breathing to slow or stop. Naloxone, which can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection, helps a person wake up and continue breathing. The drug must be administered while also calling 911 for medical assistance.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 40,000 people die from accidental drug overdoses every year in the United States and most of these deaths are from opioids.

“Naloxone is an effective antidote to opioid overdoses. By providing access to this medicine in our pharmacies without a prescription, we can help save lives,” said Rebecca Cupp, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy for Ralphs Grocery Company. “We are empowering our pharmacists to put this overdose rescue medicine in the hands of those who are in a position to help an opioid overdose victim.”

Ralphs is making naloxone available in its pharmacies without a prescription under provisions of California Assembly Bill 1535. The bill, which was passed in 2014 and went into effect on January 1, 2015, permits pharmacists to furnish the medicine upon request. Previously, naloxone was available only by prescription from a healthcare provider or from a handful of naloxone distribution programs throughout California.

All Ralphs pharmacists providing naloxone are required to take a two-hour training session to learn how to educate individuals who might use the medicine and screen patients for sensitivity to the antidote.

“Ralphs is committed to being part of the solution to the problem of epidemic prescription drug abuse,” said Cupp. “Our efforts to prevent medicine abuse, including providing naloxone, are designed to help the communities we serve become healthier and safer for everyone.”

Ralphs Pharmacies offer customers the convenience of having their prescriptions filled while they shop for groceries. Among the many services offered are adult and adolescent immunizations for Hepatitis A and B, tetanus, meningitis, cervical cancer, pneumonia, shingles (herpes zoster) and flu; customized medication reviews; memory screenings; smoking cessation; and cholesterol screenings. Free blood pressure readings are also available. To find specific Ralphs Pharmacy locations, go to https://www.ralphs.com/topic/pharmacy.