Walgreens announced it has made naloxone, a life-saving opioid antidote, available at its Louisiana locations in accordance with state pharmacy regulations.
There are more than 150 Walgreens pharmacies throughout Louisiana.
Naloxone is a fast-acting antidote used to revive heroin and opiate overdose victims who are experiencing respiratory failure and other complications.
“By making naloxone available without a prescription, we are making it easier for Louisiana families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it’s needed,” said Rob Braley, Walgreens regional healthcare director in Louisiana.
“As a pharmacy we are here to help people, and we are committed to making naloxone more accessible in the communities we serve.”
LSU Professor of Psychiatry James Becnel is part of a widespread push by medical professionals to make naloxone more readily available.
“We have someone die from an overdose roughly every 18 hours in Louisiana,” said Becnel, a frequent consultant to local law enforcement agencies. “When it's from an opiate overdose, or from heroin, we can prevent that. That does not have to happen.”
Naloxone already is being used at a record pace by local paramedics. A 2014 law that expanded the use of the reversal agent has put it in the hands of other first-responders, including the New Orleans Fire Department.
(© 2016 WWL)