President Trump on Thursday declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, expanding federal resources to increase access to treatment nationwide to prevent future opioid-related deaths. If Trump had declared the opioid crisis a national emergency, as he had pledged to back in August, then federal funds could have been immediately re-allocated. It’s unclear at this point how the administration will budget new efforts to address the epidemic.
On the heels of this news, Walgreens has stepped up to help combat the opioid crisis, announcing Thursday that it will supply Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal medication, in all of its pharmacies nationwide — more than 8,000 pharmacies in 45 states. Prior to the announcement, Walgreens provided the anti-overdose nasal spray in 33 states and Washington, D.C.
In September, CVS, which supplies naloxone (generic for Narcan) in 43 states, announced that by Feb. 1, 2018, it would implement new measures to curb opioid abuse, including restricting opioid prescriptions, reducing dosage strength and increasing the number of medication disposal bins in its pharmacies. It will also ramp up its educational efforts, with pharmacists counseling patients filling new prescriptions on opioid safety, based on guidelines established by the CDC.
According to the CDC, in 2015,15, 281 people died from overdosing on prescription opioids — that includes synthetics like fentanyl and oxycodone. The CDC also reported that naloxone reversed 26, 463 overdoses between 1999 and 2014.