ECU Report

Naloxone available at more than half of retail pharmacies

Three out of 5 North Carolina retail pharmacies have the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone in stock as part of a statewide standing order. But some independent pharmacies and those in rural areas lack same-day availability or would not sell it without a prescription.

Those are the findings of an ECU study, published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, that examined the implementation of the statewide standing order. Kathleen Egan and Joseph G.L. Lee in the Department of Health Education and Promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance, developed the study, the first of its kind in North Carolina, Egan said.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, reverses the effects of an opioid overdose by blocking receptors in the brain and restoring breathing. In 2016, North Carolina enacted a standing order allowing pharmacies to dispense naloxone without a prescription to increase access for people who need it.

In February, ECU made naloxone available at the Student Health Services pharmacy on Main Campus.

Students Ashton Knudsen and Samantha Foster called 200 pharmacies across the state. They asked whether naloxone was available without a prescription, whether they could they get it that day and how much it cost.

More than half had naloxone available without a prescription. All carried intranasal naloxone spray, and 4.1% carried intramuscular naloxone (injection). The average out-of-pocket cost was $123.24 and $33.82, respectively. Three-quarters of pharmacies that would sell naloxone said Medicaid or other forms of health insurance could cover the cost.

Naloxone availability was lower for independent pharmacies than chains and in communities with higher percentages of residents with public health insurance, the research showed.

In 2018, nearly five North Carolinians died each day from an unintentional opioid overdose, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the state’s opioid action plan.

Crystal Baity

Flowers on campus

ECU pauses chancellor search

ECU has hit the pause button on its chancellor search due to COVID-19.

At an April 2 telephone meeting, Vern Davenport, chair of the ECU board of trustees, said the timeline for the search process has been adjusted and remains uncertain due to the impact of the coronavirus and related restrictions.

“We have effectively paused the process at the moment when we were about to present the candidate pool to the search committee,” he said.

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