Pennlive.com reports that CVS is making Naloxone available without a prescription in Pennsylvania. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse the effects of a painkiller or heroin overdose. For about $50.00 or less, families who are struggling with someone with an addiction can keep this in their house in case of an emergency. It comes in a form that is a nasal spray and one that is injectable.
If your family could benefit from this, you can, for the cost of a decent first aid kit, potentially have a tool on hand that could save the life of a loved one.
This is truly wonderful news. I have had a family member who has struggled with a heroin addiction. I know of three people I went to high school with in my small, rural Pennsylvania hometown who died from heroin overdoses. I regularly consult with clients with addictions and with parents whose children are in trouble with the law and who have heroin addictions. I've seen the impacts that this has. As I write this article, two of my clients with pending cases are doing inpatient treatment for opiate addictions.
I am a realist - doing criminal defense work forces that on me. I know that people released from treatment have not been tapped on the head by a fairy godmother with a wand, going "Bing! You're cured!" People face temptation and many relapse. The risk of overdose is often much higher after someone has been clean for a while. Just because a family member has gone through treatment is no reason to say "Our family doesn't need to keep Naloxone around." If anything, it is a *bigger* reason.
While York County law enforcement leaders, including the District Attorney's office, have been very forward-thinking and very much ahead of the curve on putting Naloxone in the hands of police, response times in large parts of York County can be low - it is a big county with lots of rural areas. A parent or spouse may not find someone overdosing until some time has passed, and by the time EMS or police personnel arrive, it could be too late. Having Naloxone in the house could literally be the difference between life and death.
It is going to take our entire community to confront the painkiller and heroin addictions that too many of our friends and family in York County are struggling with. Awareness of the problem, honesty within families, and education about the resources that are available are all important. The "over the counter" availability of Naloxone is just one piece of that, but it is truly important and I am really glad to see CVS do this.