FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2016) – Kentuckians who are struggling with an opioid addiction have a new website to help them buy naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose and offer a second chance to seek treatment.
Launched today, KyStopOverdoses.ky.gov provides a map of more than 300 pharmacies across the state where people can obtain naloxone, often sold under the brand name Narcan. Visitors to the site can search for nearby venders by entering a city, county or ZIP code. Additional locations – such as health departments – are expected to be added soon.
The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy developed the website in partnership with the Advancing Pharmacy Practice in Kentucky Coalition, the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy and the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy.
Van Ingram, Executive Director for the Office of Drug Control Policy, said most of the pharmacies on the map can prescribe and dispense the medication through a collaborative agreement with a physician. Prescriptions are not only available to the opioid user, but also to their friends and family members.
“The Office of Drug Control Policy is proud to have partnered with the pharmacy community to increase access to this life-saving medication,” Ingram said.
Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley, who helped author legislation last year to expand access to naloxone, said Kentucky is continuing to foster innovative strategies as it confronts a nationwide drug scourge.
“Thousands of Kentucky families are fighting on the forefront of opioid addiction, and we must seize every opportunity to empower them with knowledge and resources,” Secretary Tilley said. “The information on this website will equip them to respond at the most crucial moment to save a loved one.”
Since June 2015, the Advancing Pharmacy Practice in Kentucky Coalition has trained nearly 1,500 pharmacists, and close to 1,200 have been certified to dispense naloxone without an individual doctor’s prescription, according to Dr. Trish Freeman, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.
“We could not be more excited and thrilled with the response of pharmacists in Kentucky, who have quickly embraced this opportunity to impact the health and well-being of citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Freeman, who also serves as President of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association. “Pharmacists are among the most accessible healthcare providers in many areas of Kentucky, and we will continue to work towards our goal of making life-saving naloxone available via protocol in every pharmacy in the Commonwealth.”
Naloxone is a prescription medication that can prevent an opioid overdose from turning fatal. It works by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain, helping an overdose victim return to normal breathing. For years, hospitals and first responders have used it as an effective antidote in overdoses involving prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl.
The medication can be injected into a muscle or applied as a nasal spray – either by a first responder or a friend or family member of the victim. It has no potential for abuse and remains harmless when given to a person who has not ingested opioid drugs.
The Office of Drug Control Policy has partnered with leaders in healthcare and education in recent years to increase knowledge and availability of naloxone across the state. Most recently, the office has helped distribute kits in schools and train educators on their use.
In addition to information on naloxone, KyStopOverdoses.ky.gov also provides testimonials, instructions on how to respond to an overdose and material on two Kentucky laws related to overdoses.
The first, “Casey’s Law,” permits those suffering from addiction to be placed into involuntary treatment. The second, a “Good Samaritan Law,” protects people from prosecution when they report a drug overdose.
Kentuckians can learn more about both laws – and about naloxone – by visiting the website.