With the state of Texas battling a fierce and pervasive heroin and opioid problem, lawmakers, police, recovery advocates and ordinary residents alike are banding together to come up with more and more solutions to curtail overdose. Most recently, the statewide prevention effort gained a new ally: Kroger Supermarkets. The national grocery chain as partnered with the Texas Pharmacy Association to offer the anti-overdose drug Narcan in the pharmacies at all 105 of their East Texas stores. NARCAN® (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray delivers a 4mg concentrated dose of naloxone, which is simple, ready-to-use, and needle free. NARCAN® can be easily administered to someone who is actively overdosing on an opioid.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 2,600 Texans died from drug overdose. Marlene Stewart, president of Kroger’s Houston division, has stated the company’s intention to be part of Texas’ initiative to decrease heroin and opioid overdoses across the state. In 2016, Texas SB 1462 took effect, which allows authorized medical professionals to prescribe naloxone through a standing order. Kroger pharmacists have received special training and education as part of the program. They are now educated and empowered to teach patients or third-party deployment agents to properly administer the drug in the event of an overdose.
Texas’ relationship with Narcan has evolved considerably over the past few years. In 2016, more and more police departments across the state were mandated to carry the drug amidst escalating overdose fatalities. Kroger is the latest company to offer the much-needed Narcan. In 2015, Walgreens started offering the drug in its 715 stores throughout the state. As the rate of opioid-related deaths continues to rise throughout Texas, increased access to Narcan in vulnerable areas is just one of a few proactive measures communities can take to protect themselves against losing a loved one.