To further combat the epidemic of heroin overdoses, the city has announced that the life-saving anti-overdose drug, Naloxone, will be made available at 300 Duane Reade and Walgreens stores—without a prescription. Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "Opioid overdose is preventable - yet it continues to claim hundreds of lives in our city. By making naloxone even more widely available we are literally saving lives and helping New Yorkers onto the path to recovery."
Pharmaceutical companies have been giving New York State a rebate on the drug in attempt to make it more accessible. Police officers started carrying Naloxone in 2014 and successfully deployed it to save addicts. Last December, Naloxone became available at most Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies with a prescription, but the inclusion of Duane Reade and Walgreens increases the availability.
According to a press release, the drug will also be sold at Walgreens locations in NY State: "With this new commitment from Duane Reade, Walgreen Co., New Yorkers can walk into any of more than 650 participating pharmacies to purchase naloxone and potentially save a life. For anyone who is unable to afford the insurance co-pay or the cost of naloxone, naloxone may be accessed free of charge at community-based opioid overdose prevention programs."
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said, "The benefits outweigh the risks and by increasing its availability beyond emergency rooms we can help prevent fatal overdoes by treating them immediately."