Hope on the horizon for the opioid addiction

Pain Management

by Steve Jacob

Jul 20, 2016

One out of five Americans say they have a family member who has been addicted to prescription painkillers and twice that number personally know someone who has been addicted.

The addiction to opioids is an epidemic that plagues our nation. Access to anti-opioid medication has been an ongoing conversation. Now, a new over-the-counter treatment looks to change the game for those who are struggling.

Naxolone, an anti-opioid medication, can now be purchased over-the-counter at any Walgreens location in Texas.

Walgreens plans to make the lifesaving antidote available without a prescription in 35 states and Washington, D.C., by the end of 2016.

The medication is not intended to replace medical care. Its instructions urge caregivers to call 911 after use.

Deaths from opioid overdose plummeted in several U.S. cities after naloxone became available without a prescription, said Jason Sapp, DO, medical director of chemical dependence services and addiction psychiatrist at the Scott & White Mental Health Center. Dr. Sapp oversees an alcohol and drug dependence treatment program in Temple, Texas.

“This is a potential life-saving development for many people,” Dr. Sapp said. “Having naloxone can very likely provide enough time for emergency medical services to arrive on a scene, or for someone to be brought to the emergency department.  I would encourage anyone who uses opioids, or is around anyone who uses opioids, to consider having a dose or two of naloxone on hand in the case of an opioid overdose.”

About the Author

Steve is a senior marketing and public relations consultant for Baylor Scott & White Health. He spent nearly four decades in newspaper and magazine editorial and business management and is the author of two books on healthcare reform. He was also the founding editor of D Magazine's D Healthcare Daily.

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