CVS will make the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone available over the counter and without a prescription in Louisiana and in six other states, the company announced this morning.
Of the seven additional states in which CVS will offer the drug—it already does so in 23 states—Louisiana will be the second to get it. Naloxone will be available here in early June. Other states included in the expansion are New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Deaths as a result of heroin, an opioid, and prescription opioid overdoses have risen dramatically across the U.S. in recent years, a trend that has been seen locally. According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office, 41 deaths related to heroin were investigated last year, an increase of 48% from the 28 deaths investigated in 2014.
Louisiana passed legislation authorizing pharmacies to dispense naloxone, which first responders use to reverse heroin and opioid overdoses, in August.
“Expanding access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone is a critical part of our national strategy to stop the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic along with effective prevention, treatment, and enforcement,” says Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy, in a prepared statement.