Iowa Hy-Vee's now offering opioid overdose medication without pr - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Hy-Vee's now offering opioid overdose medication without prescription

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A new tool in fighting the opioid epidemic is now available without a prescription.

Hy-Vee announced they will now have Naloxone, or Narcan as it's known by many, available over the counter, without a prescription.

"We know the availability of this medication has the potential to save lives,” said Kristin Williams, senior vice president and chief health officer at Hy-Vee, in a press release. “It’s vital that we do everything we can to assist those with a loved one who may encounter an opioid overdose by combining medications or by accidentally taking too much of a medication, being unaware of the life-threatening result.”

Naloxone helps block the body's ability to hold on to opioids, said Sam Janecke, a medical officer with the Dubuque Fire Department.

One of the most common, and most deadly side effect of opioid overdoses is that the person will stop breathing.

Naloxone gets them breathing again, giving them a much better chance of surviving.

"The effects of lack of oxygen in the blood can begin to affect the brain in as little as six minutes. So the faster the person can begin breathing on their own, the better for them and their neurological outcome, ultimately," Janecke said.

This is a big tool for many, especially here in Dubuque County.

The Dubuque Drug Task Force says two have died already this year from overdoses.  That's following nine deaths last year.

"The biggest plus is going to be lives saved. It's going to happen faster, and it's going to allow us to have a better idea upon arrival on scene of what actually is going on with this patient, because sometimes we show up and it's an unresponsive patient," Janecke said.

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy have implemented new rules outlining procedures and training requirements for participating pharmacies.

Hy-Vee stores all throughout Iowa, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Missouri all now have Naloxone available.

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