Pharmacies across Maryland will soon be stocked with Naloxone a life-saving medication that reverses a heroin or prescription opioid overdose. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has announced a partnership with Walgreens, CVS Health, Safeway and other pharmacies to carry the medicine and have the pharmacists trained in its administration. As announced in a DHMH Press Release:
“This partnership with CVS Health, Walgreens, Safeway and other independent pharmacies will help save lives,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “Clinicians can now write prescriptions for this life-saving medication, knowing that it is available across the state.”
It was recently shared with DHMH that a 19-year-old Baltimore woman filled a prescription for Naloxone at her local pharmacy after witnessing a loved one die from an overdose. She used the medication when a 24-year-old was overdosing in her neighborhood, and someone knocked on her door asking for help. Her administration of Naloxone saved their life.
This announcement follows a number of steps taken by the state to expand access to Naloxone including outreach to providers with patients at risk for overdosing, removing pre-authorization requirements for Medicaid patients, and launching the Overdose Response Program.
Governor-Elect Larry Hogan is also taking this issue seriously and has stated he will declare a Heroin “Emergency” once he takes office. Hogan has also announced that incoming Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford will lead efforts to combat the problem.