CVS will stock a heroin overdose antidote in its pharmacies in Ohio next month. It’s the first of 20 states where it will start selling Narcan this year.
CVS already sells it in 13 other states, including Pennsylvania.
This is the latest indication that heroin and other opioid drugs have gone mainstream across America.
Narcan, also known by its generic name naloxone, is a nasal spray used to reverse the effects of opioids in the event of overdose. Opioids include not just heroin but also methadone and widely used and highly addictive prescription painkillers like oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl and morphine.
Narcan is not a prescription drug, but it is not displayed on store shelves, according to CVS. Customers have to ask the pharmacist for the drug, which can be purchased in a two-dose package for $40 to $50.
The drug is also being sold at Walgreens and Duane Reade. Walgreens said that as of February 1, narcan could be bought in its pharmacies without a prescription.
Opioid addiction has become an “epidemic,” said the White House on Tuesday. President Obama proposed $1.1 billion in new funding to cut down on addiction to heroin and prescription drugs. The White House blamed heroin and other opioids for 28,648 deaths in 2014.
Presidential candidates have also been talking about the heroin epidemic in New Hampshire as they try to garner votes ahead of the primaries there on Tuesday. The state experienced more than 400 fatal overdoses last year, double the tally in 2014.