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CVS stores in Virginia to start offering anti-overdose medication without prescription

CVS stores in Virginia will now carry Naloxone without a prescription. This Williamson Road store is pictured Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Rob Chewning/WDBJ7
CVS stores in Virginia will now carry Naloxone without a prescription. This Williamson Road store is pictured Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Rob Chewning/WDBJ7(WDBJ)
Published: May. 11, 2016 at 7:29 PM EDT
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Wednesday Governor Terry McAuliffe made a joint announcement with one of the nation's largest drug store chains that could save lives. The drug overdose medication Naloxone will now be available at all CVS locations in Virginia without a prescription.

The Governor said drug overdoses have been the number one cause of unnatural deaths in Virginia for the past three years and welcomes CVS' decision.

A standing order from a doctor will allow anti-overdose kits to be distributed without a written prescription. Some first responders already carry the drug, but putting it in the hands of family and friends of possible patients gets it one step closer to the person who needs it.

Tim Lucas of Down Home Pharmacy compared this action to when pharmacies banded together to crack down on the sale of pseudoephedrine to people making meth. He said this organized move is one that speaks volumes.

"People have gotten into things that are causing them problems, this could be something that could save some lives and I think that's what really we're looking at here," Lucas said. "That we are keeping our community as safe as possible."

Virginia now joins 22 other states that allow this medication to be sold without a prescription.

We've heard time and time again how prescription drug abuse is a gateway to illegal drugs, and CVS is also addressing this issue. One of the biggest ways leaders try to attack the problem is through drug take-back programs, and CVS is now encouraging police departments to apply for its free drug take-back box program. This is a secure box police departments can put in a lobby or outside the building and provide a safe place to dispose of unwanted or old prescriptions.

Read the full release below:

VS Health, Governor McAuliffe Highlight Availability of Overdose-Reversing Medication At All CVS Pharmacy Locations Across Virginia

Virginia Governor, Health and Human Resources Secretary William Hazel and Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran join CVS Health to underscore availability of life-saving drug

Richmond, V.A., May 11, 2016 — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today joined Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Health and Human Resources Secretary William Hazel and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran in highlighting the availability of the opioid overdose-reversal medicine naloxone without a prescription at all CVS Pharmacy locations across Virginia. CVS Health has established a standing order with physicians in Virginia that allows CVS Pharmacy to expand access to the medication in the Old Dominion.

“Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our Virginia pharmacies by the use of a physician's standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives,” said Tom Davis, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Pharmacy. “We support expanding naloxone availability to give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery and we applaud Governor McAuliffe and the State of Virginia for their leadership in the fight against drug abuse and addiction.”

“Drug overdose is the Number One cause of unnatural death in Virginia, and it has been for the past three years,” said Governor McAuliffe. “It takes the lives of more Virginians than motor vehicle accidents or firearms. Preliminary numbers indicate that about 1,000 Virginians died of drug overdose last year, including more than 500 from prescription opioids and 300 from heroin. So we know that this particular class of narcotic, which includes both prescription and illegal drugs, is the primary killer that we must confront if we are going to end this epidemic. CVS Health’s decision to make naloxone available without a prescription at all of its Virginia locations is a welcome and important step that will save lives here in Virginia.”

“Prescription opioid and heroin overdoses are killing our citizens, and we need to use every tool we can to fight that epidemic,” said Secretary Hazel. “We are working to reduce the amount of available opioids, whether they are the kind that gets prescribed or the kind that gets bought on the street corner. We are looking to increase treatment options and trying to find ways to divert people who are addicted away from jails and into treatment. But having a drug like naloxone that can reverse a potentially fatal overdose is, quite literally, a life-saver. The more available it is, the more lives can be saved.”

“We allow and encourage our first responders to carry this life-saving drug, and to know how to use it,” said Secretary Moran. “But families and friends of people with addiction are often the actual first people to encounter a person who has overdosed. Making naloxone more easily available to them at drugstores like CVS is one step toward saving a life.”

CVS Health has also launched new digital resources on www.cvs.com/content/prescription-drug-abuse giving patients and families a single destination to learn more about drug abuse prevention. These new resources build on CVS Health’s longstanding commitment to helping communities address and prevent drug abuse. In 2015, CVS Health launched a community outreach program called Pharmacists Teach, which brings local pharmacists to high school health classes to talk to students about the dangers of drug abuse. More than 75,000 students have already taken part in the program. High school teachers and administrators in Virginia can learn more about bringing Pharmacists Teach to their school at www.CVSHealth.com.

CVS Health has also joined with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to create the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, which donates disposal units to local police departments, providing a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted medication. In Virginia, 45 police departments have received units through the program, which have collected nearly two and a half metric tons of unwanted medication in the state. And across the country, this program has collected more than 35 metric tons of unwanted medication. Police departments in Virginia can apply to receive a drug collection unit at www.cvs.com/safercommunities.

In addition to Virginia, CVS Pharmacy locations in 22 states can dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription.

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About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,500 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

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