Walgreens has announced that it has expanded the availability of naloxone, a potentially lifesaving opioid antidote, without requiring a physician's prescription to all of its New Mexico pharmacies.
DEERFIELD, Ill., May 17, 2016 - As part of its comprehensive national plan to combat drug abuse, Walgreens today announced it has expanded the availability of naloxone, a potentially lifesaving opioid antidote, without requiring a physician’s prescription to all of its New Mexico pharmacies, in accordance with state pharmacy regulations.
Naloxone is now more accessible and easier to obtain in more than 70 Walgreens pharmacies throughout New Mexico. Previously, the medication was available without a physician’s prescription at Walgreens only in parts of the state. Naloxone can be used in the event of an overdose to reverse the effects of heroin or other opioid drugs, and is administered by injection or nasal spray.
“By making naloxone available without requiring a prescription, we are making it easier for New Mexico families and caregivers to help their loved ones in need,” said Brian Sizemore, Walgreens Regional Healthcare Director in New Mexico. “We are committed to making naloxone more accessible in the communities we serve.”
In February, Walgreens announced plans to make naloxone available without requiring a prescription in 35 states and Washington D.C. in accordance with each state’s pharmacy regulations. Since its announcement, naloxone has been made available without a prescription in more than 1,500 Walgreens pharmacies throughout the states of Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
In states where a prescription is required, Walgreens is available and eager to work with regulators to help update rules to allow for dispensing of naloxone without a prescription. When implementation of the program is complete, naloxone will be available without requiring a prescription in more than 5,800 of Walgreens nearly 8,200 stores.
“By signing SB 262, Governor Martinez took an important step to increasing access to naloxone in New Mexico. Now, Walgreens expansion of medications access in northern New Mexico and throughout the state will make it easier for families to help their loved ones suffering from addiction,” State Senator Richard Martinez said.
“I hope everyone who is on opioid therapy or who has a family member who is on opioid therapy for pain control will obtain nasal naloxone--lives will surely be saved,” State Representative Terry McMillan said.
Drug abuse continues to be a public health and safety risk. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths, which include prescription and illicit drugs. That is a 6.5 percent increase from 2013 and a 140 percent increase since 2000.
When naloxone is dispensed instructions are provided on how to administer the medication, which includes calling 911 as naloxone is not a substitute for medical care, and anyone who is administered the medication should seek immediate medical attention.