Another major pharmacy chain in Missouri now offers naloxone, the potentially lifesaving drug that prevents opioid overdose deaths, to Missourians without a prescription.
Hy-Vee announced Wednesday it will now sell the drug to customers in Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.
Hy-Vee is the latest major pharmacy chain to carry naloxone without a prescription in Missouri, after Walgreens and CVS made similar announcements last year. The drug is administered in a nasal spray or injection, and can save the life of someone experiencing an opioid overdose.
Brandon Costerison, with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in St. Louis, says naloxone is a must-have for anyone close to someone who could be at risk of an overdose.
“Just like you have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case something goes bad in the kitchen, you have Naloxone on hand just in case there’s an opioid overdose,” Costerison said.
Costerison stressed naloxone isn’t just for people with an opioid substance disorder. Elderly people who take an incorrect dosage of a painkiller by mistake and children who swallow pills that aren’t meant for them are also at risk.
He added that while naloxone availability without a prescription is still new in Missouri, programs in other states have saved lives as a result.
Opioid-related deaths in Missouri have risen noticeably in recent years. In 2014, the rate of those deaths was over four-and-a-half times larger than 15 years prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.