A Heroin Antidote Will Now Be Sold Over the Counter

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The list of states allowing pharmacies to sell a heroin overdose antidote without a prescription is growing.

CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Duane Reed are among the handful of neighborhood pharmacies rolling out programs for the sale of Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids. Known by its brand name of Narcan, the antidote could only be obtained through a prescription until very recently.

Ohio and New York have joined Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin as states willing to offer non-prescription purchases of the life-saving medication.

The drug, which goes for around $50 for each dose, works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, reversing the effects of heroin and other prescription drugs like OxyContin. There are negative side effects to the antidote, however, including painful withdrawals after being administered to the victim. Naloxone was typically used by emergency responders treating lethal overdoses.

It was announced back in January that 479 CVS pharmacies located throughout the state of New York would implement the program. Last Monday Ohio announced that it would also begin selling the antidote at CVS stores next month.

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