WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Columbus division of the Kroger Co. announced last Friday that it will make the opioid overdose reversal medicine Naloxone available without a prescription at its 112 pharmacies in Ohio beginning Wednesday. By that date, Naloxone will also be available in the 84 pharmacies in Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division, one pharmacy in its Central division and three pharmacies in its Mid-Atlantic division – for a total of 200 Kroger pharmacies across Ohio.
“Unfortunately, Ohio and Kentucky rank in the top five when it comes to the highest overdose death rate according to the Centers for Disease Control. Kroger wants to help reverse this horrible statistic,” says Jeff Talbot, vice president of Merchandising for Kroger, Cincinnati/Dayton division. “We want families dealing with addiction to know that they can count on having this drug available in the event that they need it.”
“Kroger pharmacies will be helping to make a life-saving tool available to those who have a family member or someone close to them who suffers from an opiate addiction,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “While many of our first responders carry Naloxone, having it available on a wider basis will no doubt help save lives.”
Kroger has been working with University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Dr. Shawn Ryan in developing a protocol and processes for dispensing Naloxone without a prescription in Ohio.
“Pharmacists must follow regulations and procedures to dispense Naloxone,” said Ryan. “It’s critical that pharmacists be able to educate families and friends of loved ones suffering from addiction on how to handle and administer Naloxone if needed. I highly commend Kroger for taking this step to help with the opiate addiction crisis.”
U.S. Senator Rob Portman also praised the decision to offer the medicine.
“By increasing access to the life-saving drug naloxone, we can help bring more people back from the grips of overdoses,” Portman stated. “This marks an important step in our fight to combat addiction and we all need to continue to work for a bottom-up, comprehensive approach to the heroin epidemic.”