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Narcan antidote to be offered by CVS

CVS will start offering Narcan without a prescription
CVS will start offering Narcan without a prescription
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

CVS Caremark will soon offer Narcan, an antidote for opioid overdoses such as heroin, Oxycotin, and morphine as well as other drugs in this class of narcotic analgesics.

Walgreens was currently the only pharmacy to offer the life-saving drug without a prescription. CVS will now be another chain where this drug can be purchased.

Narcan, or (naloxone) is "indicated for the complete or partial reversal of opioid depression, including respiratory depression, induced by natural and synthetic opioids, including propoxyphene, methadone and certain mixed agonist-antagonist analgesics: nalbuphine, pentazocine, butorphanol, and cyclazocine. NARCAN (naloxone) is also indicated for diagnosis of suspected or known acute opioid overdosage," according to

In a harm reduction methodology, family members, addicts, and even their friends can save lives when an overdose occurs from an opiate drug. However, opiates can outlast Narcan's duration in the body, so the person must be monitored, and possibly given repeated injections of the drug.

Making this drug available in more pharmacies, family members and the addicts friends will have easier access to this drug. As with all drugs, however, Narcan is not without its own side effects. The following information is from

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeats;
  • dry cough, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
  • sweating, severe nausea or vomiting;
  • severe headache, agitation, anxiety, confusion, ringing in your ears;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • feeling like you might pass out; or
  • slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing (breathing may stop).

If you are being treated for narcotic drug addiction, the expected symptoms of withdrawal would include:

  • feeling nervous, restless, or irritable;
  • body aches;
  • dizziness, weakness;
  • diarrhea, stomach pain, mild nausea;
  • fever, chills, goosebumps; or
  • sneezing, runny nose.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Having this drug easily available can save a lot of lives, and give those persons another chance in climbing out of the vicious lifestyle of drug addiction. Prescription narcotics, and street drugs such as heroin, are in wide use across the U.S. Their use is also at epidemic proportions, and spreading into rural areas as well.

These drugs are no joke, and if you do get addicted to opiates they are extremely difficult to get off of. The relapse rate is very high, so the possibility of overdosing also increases. Having Narcan available is another tool to help those that can't help themselves in the interim.


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"One person dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose in the United States and that trend is being driven by prescription (Rx) painkillers." (

If you or a loved one needs help with any type of drug abuse/addiction problem, contact these sites depending on where you live. SEMCA (Wayne County residents), CARE (Macomb County residents), PACE (Oakland County residents), Drug Free Detroit (City of Detroit residents). For those residing outside the State of Michigan, contact SAMHSA for assistance. For assistance with medical marijuana issues contact The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, Michigan Medical Marijuana Certification Center, or, phone number: (313) 967-9999, or (248) 677-2888.

Substance abuse and mental health treatment locator here: SAMSHA

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