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Overdose medication sold in pharmacies

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- A drug used to treat overdoses, once the exclusive property of first responders and emergency rooms, is now sold in pharmacies. Virtually anyone can now get their hands on Narcan, the antidote for opiate overdoses, which started landing on pharmacy shelves six months ago.

But there are questions as to whether easy access to Narcan, which is sold for over $100 and is not covered by insurance, could encourage even more drug abuse.

“If I had teenagers, college kids, I probably would have one just in case,” Pharmacist and owner of Kavanaugh Pharmacy Anne Pace said.

In the wake of a nationwide opioid overdose epidemic, removing the possibility of more overdose deaths has been moved to the top of the list.

“Since we have such a crisis with people overdosing … if we can have the Narcan more available out there, then hopefully we can save some lives,” Pace continued.

Back in the 2017 legislative session, it was decided pharmacists could supply the medication. And Kavanaugh Pharmacy has since then sold a couple units to those in hopes of saving family members and friends with a history of drug addiction.

“It can never be considered a bad thing when a[n] antidote is out and it’s saving lives in the public; however, I don’t think it’s meant to be a fix-all for the opioid or heroin problems,” Little Rock Fire Department Captain Doug Coffman said, as his crew waits to get their hands on the medication to use in emergency situations.

As far as the antidote possibly encouraging people to abuse drugs, Coffman’s take on it is that it’s “crazy to think having Narcan is a reason to start, or to add a level of comfort to use in opioids in any way.”

According to Coffman, there’s a very limited window of time when Narcan can be used effectively. Meanwhile, Pace says going to the emergency room—even after being administered the medication—is crucial.

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