Kroger steps up fight against opioid epidemic

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Kroger steps up fight against opioid epidemic

By Michael Johnsen - 04/10/2018

Kroger Pharmacy is taking several steps as part of a comprehensive commitment to help communities combat the nationwide opioid epidemic, the Cincinnati grocer announced Monday. The efforts follow Surgeon General Jerome Adams issuing a general advisory on naloxone and opioid overdose encouraging the use of the overdose-reversal drug that has become a mainstay behind pharmacy counters nationwide.

“We applaud the Surgeon General’s advisory on naloxone and opioid overdose, knowing the epidemic continues to devastate communities across our country. A person loses their life from an opioid overdose every 12.5 minutes,” Colleen Lindholz, Kroger’s president of pharmacy and the Little Clinic, said. “We know that pharmacists are the most accessible health professionals to the public and play a vital role in providing access to the life-saving drug naloxone.”

As part of its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, Kroger currently stocks naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing drug, in its 2,300 pharmacies across 35 states and the District of Columbia with more than 1,900 of those locations dispensing naloxone without a prescription.

The company also announced plans to host drug take-back events at store locations across the country on April 28, in partnership with Cardinal Health and coinciding with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Kroger also is partnering with EVERFI and Cardinal Health’s Generation Rx to support drug prevention programs for high school students in certain markets.

“Every day in our stores and pharmacies, in large ways and small, Kroger is committed to being a part of the solution and helping people live healthier lives,” Lindholz said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States struggle with an opioid-use disorder and rates of opioid overdose deaths are rapidly increasing.