CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Friday is a big day in the ongoing effort to battle the opioid epidemic.

It is now legal across the nation to buy Narcan over the counter at pharmacies. In the past, if you wanted to buy Narcan or Naloxone at a pharmacy, you’d need a doctor’s prescription, but not anymore.

It has been several months since the federal Food and Drug Administration said it would okay over-the-counter sales of Narcan without a doctor’s order.

Over the years, it was mostly administered by first responders, medical professionals, and caregivers. But now, it’s widely available to purchase for everyone at pharmacies. Those who treat substance abuse disorder, say it’s important to have “all hands on deck.”

“It’s a fantastic day for anyone that’s worked in the substance use disorder field. This is a huge day for us. It really gets Naloxone into the stores. And so anyone can go in and purchase it. It just allows more access and more access to Naloxone is always a good thing,” said Heather McDaniel, Vice President of the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute.

Various groups – including the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute – will still be offering free Narcan kits. They will also provide training for anyone in the community that wants it.
Local “quick response teams,” or QRTs, will also keep using Narcan, so the pharmacies are just a new, additional resource for the life-saving antidotes.

Now because of the high demand for Narcan, there have been some supply chain disruptions in some of the big chain pharmacies. So, you might want to call ahead for availability at your local drug store before heading there.