PSA: Narcan is now OTC

This piece was written by an OD contributor following a recent interaction at a local pharmacy.  It is important for the public to know Narcan is now available in Michigan WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION.  Please share this with anyone who might benefit from this message…

Recently, I was at a local Rite Aid pharmacy.  Having went there for several months prior, I had became friendly with the staff, including the pharmacist.  Now, if you pay attention at any pharmacy, most will have a sign where you pick up your prescriptions saying “Nalaxone available upon request”.  

For months I wondered about this, but until this visit I never had been offered the medication myself.  Because I pick up an opioid prescription, entitled “Dolphine” (more commonly known as Methadone), I assume that the pharmacist figured that I knew people that use heroin, or prescription painkillers recreationally.

After paying him my copay and chatting, as we normally do he rushed back to his bountiful selection of prescription drugs, and came back with a pink and white box.  I immediately was curious as to what it could be, and before I even read it he said, “Do you know what Narcan is?”

Now, according to Google:  “NARCAN (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 overdose.”

I lit up like Bronner’s on Christmas, only because I was affiliated with this project.  Even though I knew exactly what it was, I said no. He enlightened me a little, “And said I can get you approved through your insurance, if you or ANYONE you know ever overdoses, it could really help them out!”  I was thinking in my head, “Wow, this guy not only is going to give me a very expensive drug for free, but I’m pretty sure he’s doing it for me to provide it to other people with an extensive drug habit!”

So I quickly said, wouldn’t that be good if I know people who still use?  And he said, “You should keep it or give it to a friend as it may help them out!”  “I can sell it without a prescription”. I never knew that it was available over the counter without a prescription, but I told him to go ahead and get the prior authorization, and thought that it would be cool to share with this project.  As the founder has had his life saved by this drug, I figured he would enjoy this story! After messaging him, I found out that I was right!

If you’re still struggling, keep it on hand!  It can work wonders. Now, Narcan is very expensive if you don’t have insurance.  However! If you do, you can go to any Rite-Aid and get it over the counter! The pharmacist will be able to get you a prior authorization (as long as you talk to your doctor) and if you’re still using and ever are in trouble, it could save your life!

Until next time!

JD