Sixty-eight people in Scioto County were saved with the use of the overdose reversal medication Naloxone, by non medical personnel.
“I am really proud at the way people in Scioto County have really stepped up,” Lisa Roberts, RN, of the Portsmouth City Health Department, said. “Sixty-eight people didn’t die in Scioto County because of Naloxone and non-EMS people being able to use it.”
Roberts said the Portsmouth Health Department recently received 200 auto injectors.
“We did our first training last week and we gave out 83 auto injectors called Evzios with the training module right in the kit,” Roberts said.
On Monday, CVS Health announced it would make naloxone available without a prescription at all CVS Pharmacy locations across Ohio beginning in late March 2016. White House National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp joined CVS Health in making the announcement at a press conference in Toledo.
“A lot of these pharmacy chains have been doing this,” Roberts said. “And CVS, up until now, has done this in 13 states and Ohio has laws to make Naloxone more available to people, but it still requires a prescriber, a doctor in there somewhere or someone who has prescription privileges. So people still have to seek out a provider that is willing to do it. What they are doing is operating under a protocol with a doctor who is, like the pharmacy chain’s physician, which is as close as you can get to making Naloxone over the counter like it is in other countries.”
Robert said making Naloxone more available can’t come too soon.
“There is a national effort to get Naloxone to be more available to anybody that may need it,”Roberts said. “The reason of course for that is that the entire country is in the midst of this terrible opioid epidemic that was ushered in by pain medication.”
One of the people who has been on the front lines of the movement is Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
“Mike DeWine just had a big emergency meeting last week with like a thousand law enforcement agencies across Ohio,” Roberts said. “They made a video trying to get law enforcement to carry it and a lot of places are carrying it througout Ohio.”
“By making naloxone available at their stores without an individual prescription, CVS Pharmacies will be helping to put a life-saving tool in the hands of Ohioans who may have a family member or someone close to them suffering from an opiate addiction,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Many of our first responders carry naloxone, but having it available on a wider basis could get help to someone who is overdosing even more quickly.”
Roberts said the New Boston Police Department has used Naloxone multiple times and the Portsmouth Fire Department personnel are respondents in Portsmouth. Rosemount Fire Department was trained last week and Nile Township Fire Department was also trained. She said Porter Township officials are also planning to train on the use of Naloxone.
“We will be working with our local CVSs,” Roberts said. “We have already talked to them and they are totally willing to do this.”
Roberts said Ohio now ranks number one in heroin overdoses, and number two in opiate overdoses behind West Virginia.