Walgreens is taking an important step to increase access to and education around naloxone by announcing that over-the-counter (OTC) Narcan Nasal Spray will be available at Walgreens stores and online as soon as Sept. 5, with nationwide availability on Sept. 7. This announcement follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval earlier this year.
This lifesaving medication can be used in the event of an opioid overdose to temporarily reverse the effects of opioids. Naloxone counteracts life-threatening depression of the central nervous and respiratory systems, allowing overdose victims to breathe normally again.
“We are committed to educating and making it easier for all Americans to have this life-saving medicine available in their first aid kits in case of an emergency,” said Kevin Ban, M.D. executive vice president and Walgreens chief medical officer. “We all must recognize that overdoses can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background or other factors.”
Naloxone should be administered as soon as someone shows signs of an opioid overdose and does not take the place of emergency medical care. It’s important to call 911 immediately.
To educate the public on how to use this lifesaving nasal spray, the Northbrook, Ill.-based company is working with End Overdose, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending drug-related overdose deaths through education, medical intervention, and public awareness.
Together, Walgreens and End Overdose have created an educational preparedness video that explains how an overdose can happen anywhere and affect anyone, how to recognize an overdose, and how to respond with naloxone nasal spray.
“This community-first effort with Walgreens will hopefully empower everyone to feel comfortable carrying and administering naloxone nasal spray,” said Theo Krzywicki, CEO and founder of End Overdose. “Just as you might carry other first aid items, this can and should be something that is accessible to all.”
In addition to the awareness video, Walgreens is making a $100,000 donation to End Overdose to support its continuing efforts in educating the public on how to use this life-saving nasal spray and de-stigmatizing the conversation around overdose and substance use disorder.
As part of the company’s other ongoing efforts to address unsafe drug use, Walgreens offers a National Prescription Drug Take Back program. The program encourages the public to collect unwanted, unused, or expired medications for safe disposal at no cost, year-round by visiting a Walgreens safe medication disposal kiosk during regular pharmacy hours.