DHMH partners with pharmacies to stock overdose-reversing Naloxone
Baltimore, MD (December 9, 2014) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) today announced a partnership with Walgreens, CVS Health, Safeway and other pharmacies to stock Naloxone in stores across Maryland and to train their pharmacists on Naloxone administration. Naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is a life-saving medication that can quickly restore the breathing of a person who has overdosed on heroin or prescription opioids.
“This partnership with CVS Health, Walgreens, Safeway and other independent pharmacies will help save lives,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “Clinicians can now write prescriptions for this life-saving medication, knowing that it is available across the state.”
It was recently shared with DHMH that a 19-year-old Baltimore woman filled a prescription for Naloxone at her local pharmacy after witnessing a loved one die from an overdose. She used the medication when a 24-year-old was overdosing in her neighborhood, and someone knocked on her door asking for help. Her administration of Naloxone saved their life.
Maryland has been promoting greater access to Naloxone for residents across the state in response to rising numbers of overdose deaths. DHMH has written to providers encouraging them to write prescriptions for Naloxone to patients who may be at risk of overdosing. DHMH also has made it easier for Medicaid patients to obtain Naloxone by removing pre-authorization requirements, and DHMH has launched theOverdose Response Program, which authorizes local entities to train and certify qualified individuals to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose by administering Naloxone.
“We are pleased to partner with DHMH to promote the availability of Naloxone as part of our ongoing efforts to combat drug abuse,” said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs, CVS Health. “In addition to having Naloxone in stock at many of our pharmacies in Maryland, all CVS pharmacy locations in the state can order Naloxone for patients who have a prescription for this medication.”
“Walgreens is committed to the communities that we serve and we’re pleased to work with the DHMH to help provide greater access to lifesaving medications for Maryland residents responding to overdosing situations,” said Jon Reitz, market pharmacy director, Walgreens.
Safeway pharmacies will begin carrying Naloxone on January 2, 2015. Detailed information on which stores in Maryland are carrying Naloxone can be found at www.dhmh.maryland.gov/naloxone. DHMH encourages all pharmacies that are carrying Naloxone and not listed to contact DHMH at DHMH.HealthMD@maryland.gov.