Big Y Pharmacy and Wellness Centers will offer naloxone without a prescription in all pharmacies across Massachusetts and Connecticut, the company announced Monday.
The move is an effort to help prevent opioid-related deaths. Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Pharmacists are trained to show patients and family members how to recognize an overdose and deliver the life-saving treatment.
In 2016, there were 917 deaths attributed to overdoses in Connecticut. A report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released earlier this year shows the rate of opioid-related emergency room visits in the state was among the highest in the nation in 2014.
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Massachusetts also suffers from the epidemic, with nearly 2,000 overdose deaths in 2016. The same Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report showed that Massachusetts had the highest rate of emergency room visits in the country in 2014.
The 2017 data from Connecticut shows that number of fatal overdoses continues to climb. Naloxone can be used to combat overdoses from a variety of opioids including oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine and heroin.
“Many of our pharmacists have contributed their professional expertise during panels at local opioid epidemic forums in our communities. The ability to now offer naloxone without a prescription to our patients and their families is just another way we can help them prevent an accidental overdose, save lives and allow our patients the opportunity to seek long-term treatment,” wrote Big y Director of Pharmacy Nicole D’Amour Schneider in a statement.
Big Y has 39 pharmacy locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. To locate a location, click here.