Narcan available over the counter in Missouri

The opioid overdose antidote naloxone — also known by its brand name Narcan — is now available without prescription at Missouri's two largest pharmacy chains, according to KSDK.

CVS began offering access to the drug in September. In early December, Walgreens made the drug available over the counter. According to KSDK, 2016 is on track to produce a record number of opioid overdose deaths in the St. Louis area.

"It looks like over 600 people, most of them young, will succumb to a fatal drug overdose," said Howard Weismann, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in St. Louis, according to KSDK. Mr. Weismann cited the number as marking a 100 overdose increase from 2015.

Despite its over-the-counter availability, the cost of the drug — $115 to $136 — is still likely to be a barrier to access for many opioid users.

For this reason Chad Sabora, co-founder of the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, said the life-saving drug will always be free at the network's outreach center.

"We have to work on creating more access to treatment. We need more diversion programs like drug court. We need more evidence-based prevention programs that go into schools and we need to work on the public perception of addiction," said Mr. Sabora, according KSDK.

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