WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy added Arizona, Georgia, Iowa and South Carolina to the list of stated where it now dispenses the opioid overdoes reversal drug naloxone to patients without a prescription. CVS Pharmacy locations in 41 states are now able to increase access to this medication.
"CVS Health is committed to addressing and preventing opioid abuse in the communities we serve and increasing access to this life-saving medication is an important part of that commitment," said Tom Davis, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Pharmacy. "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."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids — including prescription opioids and heroin — killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. At the same time, a recent CVS Health/Morning Consult survey indicates there is a significant need for increased awareness about the availability of naloxone and its role in reversing potentially fatal opioid overdoses.
"Overuse and abuse of opioids is a public health epidemic," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. "Making naloxone more widely available and accessible is a critical component of a broader strategy to prevent overdose deaths. I applaud CVS Health for its leadership.