LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It's a potentially lifesaving drug that temporarily counteracts an opioid or heroin overdose, and now you can pick it up with your groceries.
"Kentucky being one of the top 5 states with respect to dealing with overdose situations with opiates, prescription opiates and addiction we felt significant, we felt that we could play an integral role in combating this epidemic," Mohan Petchimuthu, Clinical Sales Manager with Kroger Louisville said.
Kroger now offers Naloxone or Narcan nasal spray over the counter, without a prescription at 96 of their Kentucky pharmacies. They've trained 300 pharmacists to be able to teach customers how to administer it.
"We would go through a patient education material, a checklist that they will go through and we will coach them on how to prepare and train in the event of an emergency should they have a need to use the Naloxone product," he said.
It's training the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition travels the state teaching.
"I would say it would probably be close to 2000 people we've trained so far," Arlene Rice, Co-Founder of the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition said.
Arlene Rice co-founded the organization after her son overdosed on alcohol and heroin in 2013. Her mission is to reduce the overdose deaths in Kentucky and the stigma surrounding addiction. She says making this medication more available is an important step forward.
"We are delighted that its more available and that the pharmacies are offering this without a prescription and that they are going to carry the medication especially for people who can just walk in and say no this is what I want... we think that is fabulous that they are doing that, because we feel like that more that people as a community can come together, that there is more power in numbers and that we can all fight this epidemic and help to save lives with the Narcan and the Naloxone," Rice said.
We asked if the medication would be covered by insurance if it is administered without a prescription. A Kroger spokesperson said, "Naloxone coverage varies by insurance plan. Kroger pharmacists can process a Naloxone claim to a patients insurance and inform the patient what their out of pocket amount will be prior to dispensing the product.”