Today, Walgreens announced all of their stores will stock the drug Narcan, which is an over-the-counter opioid overdose-reversing drug. The vast availability of this medication speaks volumes about the opioid epidemic in America. Narcan is the nasal spray form of Naloxone normally used to combat the hazardous effects of opioids.
Opiate dependence is a behavioral health issue and chronic disease that no racial demographic is immune to. Since the year 2000, the availability and consumption of prescription pain medications, heroin and other illicit opiates in America has increased exponentially. A 2016 report by the National Institute of Health (HIH) revealed the use of non-medical prescription opioids has quadrupled since 1999. Furthermore, the increasing mortality rate has created a public health issue and has resulted in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) implementing new guidelines for prescribers. The CDC recommends conducting appropriate risk assessments and frequent monitoring through ongoing drug screenings for long-term users. The new measures also require additional training for prescribing physicians. The rapid increase of non-prescription pain medication also led to the implementation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) to track the dispensing of opioid medications. Read the entire article here.