Despite Legislative Boost, Few Indiana Pharmacies Carry Overdose Antidote
State health officials, law enforcement and legislators all praise what’s sometimes referred to as the miraculous effects of nalxone - a drug that saves lives by reversing the effects of overdoses from heroin and prescription opioids.
But many pharmacies aren’t stocking the drug.
This story was originally published by Indiana Public Broadcasting.
The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year allowing anyone to obtain naloxone with a doctor’s prescription.
Yet most pharmacies don’t carry it – the State Health Department’s website tracking providers lists only four.
The Indiana Pharmacists Alliance says only two or three dozen pharmacies stock the drug.
“But really, I think it’s grassroots. It’s really people sharing their stories about how a life was saved with naloxone,” said Jerome Adams, the Indiana State Health Commissioner.
Adams says Indiana has been working with federal partners and state organizations to spread awareness about the drug’s benefits.
“I mean, this is similar to even needle exchange. That, too, is using needles in a new way where in the past pharmacies have been very protective to make sure a product like that was being used by diabetics or the like,” said Randy Hitchens, the Pharmacists Alliance Executive Vice President.
Hitchens says his organization has been aggressive in sharing information about the drug…but says it’s a very new idea for many pharmacists.
Hitchens added that the Alliance is considering suggesting legislation in the statehouse next session that would allow pharmacists to prescribe the drug, rather than just doctors.