Narcan program takes off in Ohio


YOUNGSTOWN

Of the more than 20 people in Summit County who overdosed on drugs this week, most survived.

With the help of a life-saving antidote, emergency responders were able to revive most victims in the wave of opioid overdoses that pummeled the Akron area.

That medication – naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan – has soared in availability across the state.

Since Gov. John Kasich signed into law last July a measure that allows pharmacies to dispense Narcan without requiring a prescription, nearly 1,000 pharmacies in 78 counties have begun to participate, according to records maintained by the state pharmacy board.

In the Mahoning Valley, 30 pharmacies now offer the medication without prescription.

In addition to doctors, pharmacists can hand out the medication to “an individual who there is reason to believe is experiencing or at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose”; to family members, friends or “other person[s] in a position to assist” those individuals; and to law-enforcement officers, according to the Ohio Administrative Code.

Although the program got off to a slow start, a state pharmacy board representative said, the number of pharmacies taking part in it has expanded drastically over the last several months.

Whatever the level of demand may be, the supply certainly has increased in this area. A month after the law went into effect, just six pharmacies in the Mahoning Valley had adapted to it.

Today, naloxone is available upon request at two pharmacies in Columbiana County; 16 in Mahoning County; and 12 in Trumbull County.

Read more about the program in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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