Narcan, an opioid overdose rescue drug, will be available at drug stores next week.

Narcan, an opioid overdose rescue drug, will be available at drug stores next week.

Narcan: The Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Medication Now Available Over-the-Counter


Are you ready to save lives? Starting next week, Narcan, a lifesaving medication that reverses opioid overdose, will be available on U.S. drugstore shelves and online. This breakthrough drug developed by Emergent BioSolutions has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is now accessible to the general public without a prescription.

The exponential rise in overdose deaths caused by potent synthetic drugs like fentanyl necessitated the development and availability of Narcan. To ensure wider accessibility, major drugstore chains such as Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, and CVS will stock the nasal spray version of naloxone, Narcan. Priced at $44.99 for a box of two doses, this potentially life-saving medication can be a crucial addition to everyone’s first aid kit.

Dr. Kevin Ban, the chief medical officer at Walgreens, encourages everyone to consider carrying Narcan. He believes it is of utmost importance for people to be prepared to help individuals experiencing an overdose. Narcan has the capability to reverse an opioid overdose within minutes, providing a second chance at life.

Previously, most U.S. states allowed qualified organizations and pharmacies to provide naloxone without a prescription. However, the availability of Narcan over-the-counter greatly enhances accessibility. It is worth noting that community groups, first responders, state and local governments, and harm reduction organizations will be able to purchase Narcan at a lower price of $41 per two-dose carton.

Maya Doe-Simkins, co-director of Remedy Alliance/For the People, praised the over-the-counter availability of Narcan as the evidence-based model that saves lives. While individuals at risk rely on organizations and government programs to acquire naloxone in bulk, the introduction of over-the-counter options broadens the scope significantly.

Additionally, Harm Reduction Therapeutics, a nonprofit organization, aims to introduce another naloxone nasal spray called RiVive. With a cost price of $36 for a two-pack, this spray will be available starting in early 2024, serving as an alternative to Narcan.

Although the availability of Narcan is a momentous breakthrough, some pharmacies have implemented specific protocols for purchase. CVS plans to sell Narcan behind the pharmacy counter, in the pain care aisles, as well as in the register available for pickup and delivery. Walmart and Rite Aid intend to stock it in their pain care aisles. Walgreens will provide stocked cards that customers can easily bring to the register to access the medication.

Despite these protocols, Doe-Simkins emphasizes that any additional layers of complexity can be deterrents for individuals seeking immediate help. Nevertheless, the advent of over-the-counter accessibility represents a long-awaited achievement for the community, with advocates fighting for more than a decade for this milestone.

It is important to mention that injectable naloxone is still available by prescription, offering a more affordable option for those in need.

Opioid Dependence

In Conclusion

The availability of Narcan over-the-counter is nothing short of a revolution. It empowers individuals to be a part of the solution and potentially save lives. With major drugstore chains now stocking Narcan, this groundbreaking medication is more accessible than ever before. The actions taken by Emergent BioSolutions and other organizations mark a significant step towards combatting the opioid crisis and ensuring a safer future for all.