Albertsons-Safeway pharmacies in North Idaho have begun offering a potentially lifesaving antidote for fatal overdoses of heroin and opioid drugs. The antidote is available without a prescription.
A two-pack of the Narcan nasal spray sells for about $150, which includes a counseling session on how to recognize the signs of an overdose and how to use the product. In some cases, insurance will cover the cost of Narcan, said Christopher Greiner, an Albertsons-Safeway patient care service manager.
The spray contains a 4 milligram dose of naloxone, an antidote which reverses some of the effects of an overdose for 30 to 90 minutes. Overdoses can lead to reduced breathing and a slow heart rate, which can lead to death. People also should call 911 in the event of an overdose to get medical help, Greiner said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, naloxone has saved 26,463 lives nationwide over the past 20 years.
Washington and Idaho both passed laws last year extending Good Samaritan protections to lay people who administer naloxone to someone who is overdosing, and allowing pharmacists to dispense the drug under a standing order from a doctor, rather than requiring individual prescriptions.
Narcan is not an effective remedy for overdoses of non-opioid drugs such as methamphetamine or cocaine.
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