The number of naloxone prescriptions dispensed from retail pharmacies doubled in 2018, but access to the emergency opioid overdose treatment still varies widely, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rural counties were more likely to have low dispensing rates. CDC recommends that health care providers consider offering naloxone to all patients at risk for overdose, such as patients who take high daily dosages of prescription opioid pain relievers, use benzodiazepines concurrently with opioids or have a history of substance use disorder. In 2018, one naloxone prescription was dispensed for every 70 high-dose opioid prescriptions, a 150% increase from 2017 but still low, CDC said. To improve access, CDC recommends reducing the insurance co-pay for patients; increasing provider training and education; and targeting distribution especially in rural areas, among other actions. “With help from Congress, the private sector, state and local governments, and communities, targeted access to naloxone has expanded dramatically over the last several years, but today’s CDC report is a reminder that there is much more all of us need to do to save lives,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
 

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