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Naxalone training now offered by phone

Pen Bay Medical Center
May 20, 2020

Rockport — Pen Bay Medical Center is launching a new program to train the public in administering the life-saving drug Naxalone with out a prescription. To adhere to state guidelines, the new program will offer the training by phone. Naloxone, a nasal spray that does not provide a high, immediately reverses the effects of opioids and is used to help to those who are experiencing an opioid overdose.

The goal of doing away with the need for a prescription is to make it easier for as many people as possible to carry the life-saving drug, whether or not they or someone they know takes opioids, said Dr. Kendra Emery, a family practice physician who oversees PBMC’s response to the opioid crisis. “In this crisis, none of us knows when we may have to respond to someone suffering an overdose, whether it be a loved one or a complete stranger.  The more people who carry naloxone, the more lives we will save.”

Dr. Emery stressed that opioid overdoses can happen to anyone who is taking an opioid medication, particularly when taking it at higher doses. Overdoses can also occur in patients with opioid use disorder. There are other factors that contribute to an individual’s risk.

Dr. Emery said, "I advise that if you have a prescription for opioids, talk to your doctor about your risk factors. I also encourage people to have naloxone on hand if they have concerns about a friend or family member,”

Purchasing naloxone at The Pharmacy at PBMC is a simple process, even with COVID-19 restrictions in place. The first step is to call The Pharmacy before you come into the hospital. It can be reached at 301-8585.

“Then, when you come into the hospital’s main entrance, let the person at the screening station know that you want to speak to a pharmacist,” Tom Edge, manager of retail pharmacy at PBMC said. “They’ll let us know you are there, and we’ll come out with your prescription.”

Dispensing naloxone requires the recipient be trained to identify an overdose and administer the nasal spray version of the drug. Normally this is done in person. However, to accommodate social distancing guidelines around COVID-19, Edge and his colleagues now conduct the training over the telephone after dispensing naloxone.

During the training, you’ll learn that naloxone is a safe drug. According to the Department of Health and Human Services website, “It will not work on or harm someone who has overdosed on other drugs or alcohol. If you suspect an [opioid] overdose, administer Naloxone.”

The training also covers the state’s good Samaritan law, which protects anyone responding in good faith to a medical emergency against liability, according to Dr. Emery.

There is no need for a photo ID but, because many health insurances will cover the cost of naloxone whether or not the purchaser is a patient, they will want to bring their insurance card. If the purchaser doesn't have insurance, The Pharmacy has arranged for options as low as $40. “If that price is still a struggle, come in and we’ll figure it out,” Edge said. “The most important thing is to get naloxone into people’s hands.”

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