Kroger’s 34 pharmacies in its Mid-Atlantic Division in West Virginia are making the opioid overdose reversal medicine Naloxone available without a prescription. Locally, Kroger operates pharmacies in Oak Hill and at Smithers.
West Virginia had the highest rate of death due to drug overdose in the United States at 41.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2015. That is more than double the national average.
“Making Naloxone available in our pharmacies is an important step in allowing family members, friends and caregivers of those struggling with addiction an opportunity to overcome it,” said David Potters, executive director of the West Virginia State Board of Pharmacy.
Kroger pharmacies “will be making a life-saving tool available to those who have a family member or friend who suffers from an opiate addiction,” said Michele Fountain, pharmacy clinical sales manager for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division.
Naloxone also can be used as a preventive measure for patients on chronic opioid pain management for cancer pain or pain because of an injury, added Fountain.
Last year, the West Virginia Legislature adopted a law allowing pharmacies to dispense Naloxone without a prescription. The legislation also called for the Board of Pharmacy and the Bureau of Public Health to develop a protocol for patient counseling, educational materials and documentation through the West Virginia Controlled Substances Monitoring Program.
“Since the protocols and materials were developed, Kroger has provided its pharmacists with additional training and guidance, and now we are prepared to dispense Naloxone,” said Fountain.
Kroger pharmacies also are located in the Charleston area, Huntington area, Morgantown, Clarksburg, Beckley, Parkersburg, Ripley, Buckhannon, Elkins, Rainelle, Hinton, Ronceverte, Logan, Danville, Bluewell and Princeton.