Three SpartanNash Pharmacies Pilot Opioid Safety Project to Provide Patients with Education, Life-Saving Medication


Select Family Fare and D&W pharmacies in the greater Grand Rapids area are piloting an Opioid Safety Project program, the first of its kind in the state being offered by a major grocery retailer.

PRESS RELEASE GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Select Family Fare and D&W pharmacies in the greater Grand Rapids area are piloting an Opioid Safety Project program – the first of its kind in the state being offered by a major grocery retailer.

The project aims to reduce prescription drug overdoses by providing patients who visit the three participating pharmacies with naloxone — a life-saving medication used to reverse the deadly effects of opioid overdose – in addition to education courses on how to diagnose, prevent and reverse an accidental opioid overdose.

“The key to our Opioid Safety Project is the education component,” said Eddie Garcia, SpartanNash director of pharmacy merchandising. “Before our store guests take their prescriptions home with them, our pharmacists are spending time with them and their caregivers to ensure they understand how to properly consume their medications. We never want our store guests to have to use the naloxone, but we want them to be informed on how to properly administer it in the case of an emergency.”

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and SpartanNash encourages store guests to prevent accidental opioid overdoses by avoiding alcohol, benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin and other medicines while taking opioids; and being careful when missing or changing doses, starting to feel ill or beginning new medications.

“Often, prescription overdoses are not intentional or recreational use gone badly, but rather an adult who forgets they’ve taken their prescribed medication and takes a second dose or is caused by a drug interaction,” Garcia said. “By providing store guests and their caregivers with the necessary tools and knowledge to reverse a prescription overdose, we can reduce the number of them overall and educate our guests on how to avoid them in the first place.”

To participate in the Opioid Safety Project, SpartanNash — which owns the Family Fare Supermarkets andD&W Fresh Market piloting the program – has partnered with Dr. Sandra Dettmann, M.D. of the Dettmann Center, P.C. The Grand Rapids-based addiction medicine physician authorizes the three pharmacies to dispense the safety kit and naloxone medication to patients.

Store guests with an opioid prescription from any physician are asked if they would like to participate in the program, and if so, they are then provided with additional information and education regarding how to safely take their opioid medications and how to properly use the naloxone should the need arise. They are also provided with an overdose reversal kit that includes naloxone, a face shield for rescue breathing and an information pamphlet on the symptoms of an opioid overdose and how to give naloxone.

In the case of an opioid overdose, caregivers should call 9-1-1, administer the naloxone provided in the SpartanNash safety kit, perform rescue breathing and stay with the patient until help arrives.

“More people are dying from drug overdoses than from car accidents, and these deaths are preventable with the life-saving drug naloxone and more knowledge about how accidental overdoses can happen,” Dettmann said. “We are losing mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings, friends, and children every day needlessly, when the evidence is clear. The more naloxone available in a community, the fewer people die. I applaud SpartanNash for stepping up to the plate to save lives.”

According to Michigan’s Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force report, 44 people die in the United States every day from an overdose of prescription painkillers.

The participating pharmacies are located at:

  • Cascade D&W — 6425 28th St., SE in Grand Rapids
  • Leonard St. Family Fare — 1225 Leonard, NE in Grand Rapids
  • Rogers Plaza Family Fare — 1148 28th St., SW in Wyoming

The goal is to expand the pilot program to additional SpartanNash store locations in greater Grand Rapids.

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