Cherokee Hospital Pharmacy distributing Narcan



IIn an effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths in the community, the pharmacy at Cherokee Hospital in India began distributing free naloxone kits, sometimes referred to under the brand name Narcan, to the public.

“Patients eligible to receive drugs from the pharmacy need only check in at one of the front windows to request a kit,” said Jason White, chief pharmacist at Cherokee Indian Hospital. “The pharmacist reviews the records and an order for the kit is placed and processed according to a standing order from a physician. We require and provide patient education on how to use the kit. In the state of North Carolina, patients do not need to see a doctor to get a Narcan kit at a pharmacy, and we take the same approach at CIH Pharmacy.

White said there are no limits per se on the number of kits a person can request. “There is no fixed ceiling. We distribute one kit at a time. We recognize that medications expire and need to be replaced occasionally. Patients / individuals should only need it one at a time and are encouraged not to hesitate to use it when needed. We will replace used, lost or expired kits if necessary.

PREVENTION: The pharmacy at Cherokee Indian Hospital has started distributing free naloxone kits, sometimes referred to by the brand name Narcan, to the public. (Image courtesy of Narcan)

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Naloxone is a drug designed to quickly reverse an opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist, which means it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal breathing in a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped following an overdose of heroin or prescription opioid pain relievers.

Narcan delivers naloxone in a nasal spray system. “Narcan nasal spray is a prefilled, needle-free device that requires no assembly and is sprayed into a nostril while patients are lying on their backs,” the NIDA information said.

Regarding the costs of the Narcan program at Cherokee Indian Hospital, White noted, “We are able to purchase kits at about half the cost of what other pharmacies pay for them. This works out to about $ 30 per patient who requests a kit. Narcan kits are funded from the same sources that we use to deliver medication to our eligible patients and using CIH services.

The FDA approved the use of Narcan nasal spray in November 2015. “Tackling the epidemic of opioid abuse is a top priority for the FDA,” Stephen Ostroff, MD, commissioner by interim FDA. “We cannot stand idly by while Americans die. While naloxone does not solve the underlying problems of the opioid epidemic, we are accelerating the review of new formulations that will ultimately save lives that might otherwise be lost through drug addiction and overdose.

NIDA reports that between 1996 and 2014, “at least 26,500 opioid overdoses in the United States were canceled by a layperson using naloxone.”

“We are in contact with the pharmacy about their efforts to distribute naloxone to the community,” said Freida Saylor, director of Analenisgi. “Together with the pharmacy, we have taken a proactive stance to preserve life as much as possible through policy, prevention and education. We support the distribution because we have seen the implications of opioid use and overdoses in the community. We hope to continue to work with community members to expand these efforts over time. “

The Cherokee Nation has taken the fight against opioids to court. First filed in April in Cherokee Nation District Court, the lawsuit (Cherokee Nation v McKesson Corp.) was filed in federal court on Friday, July 21.

The original petition filed by the tribe is called McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc .; Amerisourcebergen; CVS Health; Walgreens Boot Alliance, Inc .; and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as defendants and states, “Today in the Cherokee Nation, as elsewhere in the country, prescription opioids are more deadly than heroin.

The petition goes on to state, “Much of the epidemic could and should have been avoided by the corporate defendants operating within the US drug distribution industry, which are among the largest corporations in America.” These drug wholesalers and retailers have greatly benefited by allowing the Cherokee Nation to be inundated with prescription opioids. “

The lawsuit alleges that approximately 845 milligrams of opioids were distributed throughout the Cherokee Nation in 2015. “This amount would average approximately 703 milligrams per Cherokee Nation citizen in these counties. Obviously, most people do not take opioids, so this per capita average can be spread over the rough estimate of Cherokee Nation citizens who actually use opioids to give a more accurate picture of the level of diversion of opioids. opioids in the Cherokee Nation.

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